Two films by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the creator of the well-known Amelie Poulenc, has existed even before the film popped out, and namely produced two main works, of which I will talk tonight: La Cité des enfants perdus (The city of lost children), 1995, and Delicatessen, 1991.
Albeit la Cité is more recent than Delicatessen, Delicatessen is so very much better, since it reaches an equilibrium that is later only aggravated, broken, stigmatized.
The two films mirror each other, albeit Cité is about children and dreams, and Delicatessen about selfish adultness. But, apart from this, everything returns: the grotesque, the little flourishing in a disintegrated, post-apocalyptic world of innocence and freshness, unconsciousness, and a final destruction triggered by the divine, unconcious operating of the sinergy of two innocent human beings.
Recurrent themes in the two films are the circus, the underground living, the isolation of the setting, some sense of totalitarian order, the presence of infimous, sometimed disgusting animals, the sight limitation, the interconnectedness of events which lets an individual save himself unconsciusly thanks to a material unwanted effect of its desperation which triggers a series of mechanical events, and finally the solution to its pain. It always begins with some established order of things which is bluntly unharmonious and distorted, and then the upsurge of something that switches on the reactions, wakes up the dead and kills the unconscious. A sight on sacrality of life as such and of the benignity of nature is always there, as well as of the strong power of arts such as music or dance. Nobody who is not a machine really dies. Who dies is a machine, or someone who wants to die. From this point of view, we can say that Jeunet's films have a happy end.
What marks them is however this idea of grotesque, disgust and violence which is probably given by his co-author Marc Caro, which is always ther in films.
I reviewed the City of Lost children and I found it a nightmare tonight. There is all the psychotic deformation, all the very evil masquerade dressed up in fairy tale, all the eluded sex and love, and moreover, it is so psychotic which is concentrated on dreams - which is so frightening to sleep after having seen it.
This sense of alarm does not arise in a little Jeunet's jewel: Foutaises.
This is Paris - this is what I like most, with its very sensual charme - "J'aime le Bois de Boulogne les jours feriés" - the actors are always the same: Dominique Pinon, a fascist, a woman - and always, a very appropriate use of music and colours.