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Thread: Amelie

  1. #1
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    Amelie

    Though it’s easily recommendable, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s trifle is just as easily forgettable. Try as he might, Jeunet isn’t able to create anything remotely indelible in this sweet story of a wistful young woman (Audrey Tautou) who attempts to make the people who inhabit her world happier; when she comes across a book of strange portrait photography, she sets out to connect with the photographer (Mathieu Kassovitz). Jeunet pulls out all the animated and digital stops at his disposal and while it’s never less than lovely to gaze at, it has the qualities of a comedy sketch television show (indeed, it has the feel of a low-key French Monty Python) and when the mysterious old man in the apartment below that appears in every French romance starts to become a major character, you know there isn’t much point in paying close attention. Some might find this simple but densely-packed feature charming in its innocence (and goodness knows we need more films like this that have no use for violence) but others might be immune to its charms because of its one-dimensional presentation. It’s a film for which it’s quite possible to enjoy yet have absolutely no opinion.

  2. #2
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    Thats an interesting comment. As often as I agree with others and say "yeah I loved it!" I didnt remember that there was a photo album involved until reading your comment. Nice comfort film, the kind that I would enjoy seeing more of, but, as you say, the kind that slips out of the brain quite easily. In the end, all that we can say about Amelie is that shes a hot, happy girl.
    I'll figure this out later.

  3. #3
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    It is hard to see such criticism about Amelie without thinking that the interested parties either didn't see it or simply didn't get it. Amelie is fraught with a thousand little ideas and generally copious amounts of perfect taste, which makes it a truly French film. One has to be French, or speak French fluently, I suppose, to fully appreciate the speed and brilliance of the dialogue. All frames are carefully balanced in their color and shape, with colors themselves telling just as much of the story as the words. Not to mention the first rate acting from all participants.
    Amelie's story does not pretend to be original. It is a film, not a novel. The story is a canvas, not a picture.
    I do have critiques about Amelie, but they are more subtle than the straightforward bashing I have read here.
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  4. #4
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    This is one of the last films I'd describe as being easily forgotten. How often do you come across a feel good film of such quality? I was astonished by the sheer beauty of the film. Each scene was so complete and well shot. Even the subtle use of shadow and light was gorgeous, not to mention the diverse palette of colors.

    OK, so the plot wasn't exactly original but the depth of the characters more then made up for that. They put a new twist on an old story. I found the characters to be both eccentric and endearing at the same time.

    It was one of the best films of 2001.
    "All generalizations are dangerous, even this one." -Dumas

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by Damerval
    It is hard to see such criticism about Amelie without thinking that the interested parties either didn't see it or simply didn't get it. Amelie is fraught with a thousand little ideas and generally copious amounts of perfect taste, which makes it a truly French film. One has to be French, or speak French fluently, I suppose, to fully appreciate the speed and brilliance of the dialogue. All frames are carefully balanced in their color and shape, with colors themselves telling just as much of the story as the words. Not to mention the first rate acting from all participants.
    Amelie's story does not pretend to be original. It is a film, not a novel. The story is a canvas, not a picture.
    I do have critiques about Amelie, but they are more subtle than the straightforward bashing I have read here.
    Damerval,
    Saw it, got it. Also, I took French in both high school and college and I'm not sure I had to speak the language or be French to get it. (Does this requirement invalidate every American comment, positive as well as negative?) And I've seen enough French films to identify their unfortunate similarities.
    Actually, my post on "Amelie" was not intended as a knock, certainly not the "bashing" referenced. I enjoyed it and I certainly can appreciate its mastery of color and animation. It just struck me as slight--not a bad thing, just not the instant classic it seems to be regaled as. I suspect that its future status will be regarded as "precious."

  6. #6
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    Bix121,
    I happen to be French, and it is undeniable that the subtitles were desperately trying to keep up with the dialogue. No, I'm afraid this particular film can only be truly appreciated to the full by fluent French speakers.
    You had described it as an easily forgotten film. Perhaps for you, but then again I maintain that if you didn't remember there was a photo album involved, you either didn't see the movie ro didn't *watch* it - the photo album is quite central to the movie, it features in numerous, long scenes and it is the basis frame and style of the end credits. This detail alone tells me you didn't see the movie or were thinking about something else when you sat there in the theatre.
    As to the unfortunate qualities of French movies, we do have our moments - just like American cinema has its catastrophes (see Independance Day or Titanic, for instance).
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  7. #7
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    Actually, I think I said that I forgot the photo album, not Bix.
    Anyway, I dont think there would be any reason to think that French or American cinema fails across the board, so no need to open up that can of worms.

    With a Friend Like Harry was one of my favorites of last year!

    Vive Le France, Long Live America etc and so on.
    I'll figure this out later.

  8. #8
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    You're absolutely right, my mistake.
    I would be the first one to say that there are ten good American films for each French one, and I won't fall into the cliché of saying that it's a question of money - The best American cinema is low-budget.
    French cinema does have its moments, however , and Amelie was one of those. It shocked me that one could call it forgettable - So far I have seen some people love it to bits or hate it cordially, calling it an arrogant masturbation of a movie - but I had never seen forgettable coined, and the reason for that is that it is not. It is some of the best cinematographical know-how available today applied to true cinema art. It is not what I woud call a masterpiece, because it is so light-spirited, but it is a film I don't think I will ever forget.
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  9. #9
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    Incredible Amélie

    Just to be sure that the movie was as magical and fun as it seemed the first time I saw it, I had the opportunity to re-visit Amélie's incredible adventure (in fact, everyone's adventure) and the movie was even more striking than upon first viewing!
    Technically, just about everyone can easily appreciate the virtuosity of the set-design and the camerawork, lighting included. Not many movies are as integrated as 'Amélie" not just visually, but from the audio track and soundtrack (by which I mean here, the musical accompaniments to the movie). Upon re-seeing it, the excellence of the editing and the pace really struck me. So we're looking at: outstanding inventiveness in Cinematogtraphy and visual efects; amazing integration of sounds-mix and soundtrack; an upbeat message, not without some moments of sadness; wonderful acting. That's quite a line-up iof winning attributes for a movie that didn't win a Golden boy!
    The 'mermaid' subtext is interesting, the water-woman-undercrrrent (pardon the pun), the ties beween Priness Di, Amélie, Mother Theresa, the women working at Les deux magots café, etc...the idea of 'dedicating oneself to doing good deads'; a very 'feminine' esoteric concept that Google will help curious minds find out more about, and that no reviewers I've read have picked up on.
    Lightweight? I'm not so sure how lightweight, but the playful tone and style do make for a satisfying morsel -on many levels!
    As far as the language vs. subtitles issue goes, it's pretty obvious that a different language, even a different dialect within a language (hell, even an accwnt within a dialect!) can make quite difference in communication. The actual lingo of Paris (the original 'argot') has a pace and actual use of words that is completely unique - and while "Amélie" didn't use too much of the Parisien argot, the tone and pace were there - and the subtitles, while they were much better than usual, did have a bit of time keeping up!
    "10 good American movies for every French one"? Interesting observation, how many French movies do you see, just out of cusiosity? And don't forget, what we see in the States is a very thin sliver of the movies produced in France. A more interesting comparison might be 'how many millions of dollars (or Euro's) are spent on dreadul movies each year?
    Amélie for President!
    hp

  10. #10
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    Amelie is without a doubt a truly great movie. It isnt often that the filmmakers succeds in creating such a great feeling in the movie like they did with Amelie.

    The score is very suitable, the actors are good, and it is an interesting story from the beginning. It is an romantic comedy, and such movies usually suck real hard. But this is an french movie, and it differs greatly from the usual american-hollywood-mainstream-thrash movies (even though there are many good movies from there too, only to much crap).

    It is a feelgood movie in a way, but if you succeed in doing such a movie, then i congratulate them, cause Amelie is surely one of those movies that succeeded.

  11. #11
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    Having been born and raised in France, and being interested in cinema, I have probably seen most generally published French movies. I think it can be said with a reasonable amount of accuracy that there are far more excellent American films than excellent French films. This is not brought about by sheer numbers - although these help, but I would say, because of a certain level of competition and recognition among the artist profession. But while the reasons are really up to anyone's perception, I don't think it is possible to deny that American cinema is several notches up from its French counterpart.
    This being said, Amélie is a cinematographical fireworks - I don't see that it has any major or even minor flaws, and while it is not a milestone of a film, it nevertheless remains an unforgettable one.
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