Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (Amelie from Montmartre) - review

When I was young, rash and still exploring this newfound thing called internet, I chanced across a newsgroup called alt.shenanigans. Browsing through the pranks listed there, I came across a pearl, a gem of the most magic realism. It wasn't offensive; it made no fool out of anyone; and best of all, it had a strange, unusual poetry about it. The prank goes like this: when going on a faraway trip, preferably to various destinations, steal a garden gnome from someone's garden. Take it along and take Polaroid pictures of it in front of various exotic and/or famous locations (Golden Gate Bridge, the pyramids of Gizeh, and so on). Send these polaroids to the gnome's owner. When you come back from your trip, place the gnome in its original location.
I could scold director Jean-Pierre Jeunet for stealing the prank and inserting it into his movie, whose French title translates literally as "The Fabulous Fate of Amélie Poulain". However, the movie itself has all the beauty, poetry and magical hilariousness of the gnome joke itself. Where American movies are big (big crowds, big explosions, big spaceships) and many European movies are pretentious and overly serious, Jeunet has not let the directing of "Alien: Resurrection" go to his head. Instead, his film, which, for a change, does not involve any fantasy but does involve a lot of imagination, is subtle and dynamic at the same time. Lots of ballet-like camera work and a main actress who looks like an updated Louise Brooks take care of the visuals; a story full of little jokes, crazy ideas and small, poignant subplots does the rest. There is a lot to discover here and you'll enjoy every single second of it.

Posted by cronopio at 12:52 AM, December 09, 2001 | Comments (0)