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Thread: Amelie is ground-breaking cinema

  1. #1
    KevinTKauai Guest

    Amelie is ground-breaking cinema

    When I was spending time in Lake Tahoe, I had occasion to catch "Amelie" at the local Reno cinema. Surprisingly, I returned within a week to view it again, so struck was I by the shear bravado of the filmmaking. One would be hard-pressed to imagine making this film 20 years ago, given the number of shots and setups that telling the story (and tell it well, it does!) involves. Jean-Pierre Jeunet has pulled off nothing less than an international coup!

    Now that I am out in the wilds on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, I can only get foreign films through DVD and when I realized that I had several houseguests arriving who had not seem “Amelie” I got it. What a delight! The DVD has extra commentary tracks (in either English or French) where the director talks through various sequences (as seen on other DVD commentary tracks) but his comments are wonderfully self-effacing and open. (What a truly NEAT idea to make a film that basically encapsulates various episodes that have happened to one’s life! I’m ready to do MY film, Mr. DeMille!)

    The cast is totally magnificent, with even “small” characters richly played (notice the twin lesbians as background in one of the produce store sequences). Amelie’s mother practically has no lines at all and manages to come across richly portrayed.

    I have absolutely no restraint about recommending this film to almost anyone with a more than passing interest in warmth, beauty and the liberal pursuit of happiness!

  2. #2
    Damerval Guest
    While I disagreed with the detractors of Amelie who coined the phrase "easily forgotten" about Amelie - something I found hard to understand since, in my opinion, one had to entirely miss the point of this movie to be able to dismiss it, I would not call it ground-breaking cinema either. It is cinema. It is extremely good cinemam of the kind that oinly very talented directors and actors can produce. It demonstrates that sheer good taste achieves a lot on a small budget. It is not, however, as monumental as, say, Citizen Kane or West Side Story. It makes cinema history and remains on the the best French films of the decade, but I don't think it will make cinema household in the way the aforementioned have.

  3. #3
    mariaT Guest
    What do you think it is about West Side Story or Citizen Kane that makes them "household", as opposed to Amelie? I would agree perhaps, but more because of breadth of release and artistic bent than anything else. In other words, Amelie as wonderful as it is, may not be as accessible to general audiences as the films you mention.

  4. #4
    Damerval Guest
    Thank you for your reply - to me, what makes Citizen Kane or West Side Story household is that they are eternal and perfect - there does not seem to be a single scene out of place, or a single second superfluous. It is simply the difference between something that reaches absolute perfection and something that gets really close. I did not come out of the theatre a changed man after seeing Amelie. But I did do so after watching Citizen Kane, and most definitely West Side Story. There are other great films, those two just stand out for me. Amelie is not what I would call a legend of a film - but it is as close as it would ever get.


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