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Masterpiece Cinema - The City of Lost Children

 article about Top movie reviews
Hello, hello, hello. Miss me? No? I knew you didn't. Nobody loves me. Anyway, welcome to another edition of Masterpiece Cinema.

Last
week you were promised an exploration of the earlier work of the guy
that brought you the hit French film Amlie. Well, that's precisely what
you're going to get. The City of Lost Children (or La Cit des Enfants
Perdus, to use its French title)

Starring Ron Perlman, Judith Vittet, Daniel Emilfork and Dominique Pinon.
Written by Gilles Adrien, Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Directed by Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Creepy Surrealist French film
Released: 1995
Running time: 112 minutes.

Rated:
R (American rating for disturbing and grotesque images of violence and
menace. Sounds like were living in 1950 with a rating like that, doesnt
it?).

IMDb link: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0112682

Whenever
I see the trailer for Amlie, I'm always curious why the voice-over
mentions that it's from the director of Delicatessen, but never
mentions that it's also from the same director of The City of Lost
Children (the reason they don't mention that it's also from the
director of Alien: Resurrection is pretty obvious).

The guy in
question is Jean-Pierre Jeunet, an absolutely amazing director with an
incredibly recognisable visual style. The City of Lost Children is the
1995 movie he made with filmmaking partner Marc Caro, with whom he also
directed Delicatessen and The Bunker of the Last Gunshots. If you've
seen Amlie, you have a fairly good idea of Jeunet and Caros visual
style. But you probably don't know how dark their shared vision can be.
Ever eaten some bad salami and have a particularly vivid nightmare?
Thats what The City of Lost Children is like.

It's a very vivid
nightmare, while also remaining incredibly beautiful and touching. Ron
Perlman stars as One, a monosyllabic sailor whose kid brother is stolen
away from him. In fact, children all over the city are being stolen,
and nobody has a clue as to why. One, hoping to get his brother back,
teams up with Miette, a street urchin who wants to find out where all
the kids are going. What's that? You think it sounds saccharine? Like
Homeward Bound or some crap? You couldn't be further from the truth, my
friend! It's a Brothers Grimm fairytale at its best - its creepy,
threatening and unsettling. Believe me, there's nothing sugary about
this movie.

The sets and costumes are so meticulously crafted
that you're transported to an entirely different world. In fact, the
special effects are so amazing overall that they beat out a number of
films that Hollywood has touted as being cutting edge and state of the
art. The actors are fantastic. The world they inhabit is lush and
beautifully frightening. The story is complex, yet at the same time has
the simplicity of a fairytale.

It's a sumptuous movie that
leaves you stunned that such a thing could exist and you might have
gone your entire life without having seen it. I love Amlie. That cute,
saucy French vixen won over my heart and charmed me endlessly. If
Audrey Tautou showed up and proposed to me, wellitd never happen, but I
can dream, right? But I love The City of Lost Children just as much,
and on some days, even more. It's a surrealist film that doesnt
sacrifice its humanity or force gore in your face in order to creep you
out. It's a dark ghost story, its a Technicolor campfire tale, and its
terrific.

Next week: We go from France to Japan, taking a look
at an absolutely stunning anime film. And no, it's not freakin Spirited
Away, dammit!



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