Thursday, November 13, 2008

The City of Lost Children


La Cité des enfants perdus; Fantasy, France, 1995; D: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro, S: Ron Perlman, Judith Vittet, Dominique Pinon, Daniel Emilfork, Jean-Claude Dreyfus

A mad scientist, Krank, lives in an oil rig somewhere is the sea, creating six identical cloned sons, a small woman, a brain in an aquarium and machines with which he steals children's dreams because he doesn't have any himself. His henchmen called "Cyclops" kidnap children for him, but when one day the boy Denree is found among the abducted, his older friend One goes to rescue him with the girl Miette. A group of children thieves show him the way and he saves the kids while the platforms collapses in an explosion.

The unleashed smashing visual style of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet is in his 2nd film "The City of Lost Children" really impressive, but it's still considered one step away from his future films and paler than his debut film - even though his inspiration here is much larger and more sure than before! "Delicatessen" are good, but sometimes seem worn out and overstretched, while "The City" is truly filled with surreal ideas and details that blow the viewers mind. Already in the first scene, the dreamy sequence with multiple Santa Clauses, in which the walls start moving in waves, does the author's touch become recognizable, crafting a dark fairy tale that deliberately crosses all measures, while other highlights are the imaginative set design, a whole world for itself, and a "microscopic" shot of a flee climbing on a man. Many things stay mysterious and esoteric, but in it the story never diminishes the will of the viewer, but actually amplifies it. Jeunet and Caro once said they wanted to make "every scene special and stimulative", and thus this is one rare example of a cult film where the initiator is not logic, but longing for creativity.

Grade:+++

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