A few of her favorite things

For the first time since City Of Lost Children we are transported to a strangely familiar world where coincidences are revealed as fate and dreams can become as real as nightmares.

Amélie a different movie, but has the same joyful dream like quality as City Of Lost Children. While City Of Lost Children was like a dark fable dreamed in a fever, Amélie is a lovely daydream.

Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is a woman who grew up without a lot of human contact, so her actions as an adult are different from most. Though this could easily also describe a number of other films, like Australia’s Bad Boy Bubby, this movie concentrates on creating moments of pure magic. Unlike Harry Potter that deals with children’s spells and blatant mass marketing, Amélie gives us a series of moments of simple joy that remind us how good it is to be alive.

The movie does suffer from so many perfect vinaigrettes that the underlying story cannot compete with them. The film seems to slow down in the last half hour when the main story has to resolve itself, but it only seemed slow compared to what had gone before.

As with Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s other films there is an amazing look to this movie. Though the computer effects are not as obvious as they are in City Of Lost Children, they are there. The film is the most realistic of the Jeunet’s, it is unrealistically beautiful. You will not find overt advertising, or litter, unless it is part of the plot. Said Jeunet of this, “We cleared the streets of all cars, cleaned the graffiti off the walls, replaced posters with more colorful ones, etc. Let’s just say I tried to exert as much control as I could upon the city’s aesthetic quality.”

For those who have seen, Delicatessen or City Of Lost Children there are a few familiar faces like Dominique Pinon as Joseph, Rufus as Raphaël Poulain, Amélie’s Father. Audrey Tautou is absolutely captivating as Amélie herself.

This movie has no violence, no car chases but does have a quirky sex scene that is reminiscent of Delicatessen. Because of this, not despite it, this was the best film that I saw in 2002. Pretty good for the year that gave us SpidermanStar Wars Episode 2 and Lord of the Rings.

I would give this film nine out of ten hidden dreams.

The wonderful Amelie

There is an ongoing problem with DVDs that frustrates movie collectors, the variations in special features between zones. A guest speaker at a Digital Audio and Video lecture was the gentleman who authored the local release for Dark City. In answer to why the Zone 4 release didn’t feature the audio commentary that the US did, his answer that the local distributor did not want to spend the cash to purchase the commentary. Amelie contains a fraction of the features available overseas, but as Magna Pacific explained the reason for this was that the features were simply not offered to the local distributor. This may not bother most consumers and that is the crux of the issue.

Would missing:

  • two commentaries by director Jeunet – one in English and one in French,
  • three interviews from various locations with Jeunet totaling almost an hour in length,
  • other featurettes – including one on the cinematography, screen tests,
  • TV spots, more trailers, more photos,
  • cast and crew biographies,
  • an extra storyboard sequence and the longer ‘making of’.

make any difference to the sales and rental of the local release, because that is what we are missing.


As far as what the local disc is like, the picture quality is wonderful, as it needs to be for this release. The sound is crisp, but apart from some of the louder scenes the surround channels are not used much.

Though we don’t have the range of features what is available is a nice group. The five faces of Amelie are a short series of bloopers, there is a making of as well as a storyboard to film comparison.

This is a wonderful film, and one that bears repeated viewings. Buy it, if only for Audrey Tautou’s mischievous grin on the cover.