REVIEWED
9/5/04

STORY



LOOK

The City of Lost Children (aka La Cite des enfants perdus)
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Year: 1995
TRT: 1:42


Absolutely beautifully done fairy tale, in a dark, Grimm kinda way. A bit Gilliamesque as well in its combining of the old-school shabby streets of some anonymous wharf with bits of tinkered technology. It makes for a fantastic telling of a simple story.

While doing his usual performance for the street carnival, strongman and mentally childlike One (Ron Perlman) is left grief-stricken when not only is his boss knifed in a scuffle, but his "little brother" is kidnapped. He ends up hooking up with a very streetwise thief, who just happen to be a little girl. Young children all over the city are going missing, and unbeknownst to all, the kids are being used by a pretty cracked scientist to steal their dreams. Throw in a street gang of thieving kids, a opium-riddled carnival barker with some very talented fleas, and a weird Borg-like blind cult, and you have yourself something truly unique.

While quite surreal, it doesn't detract from the telling of the story as it rolls out numerous characters without being overwhelming (even in French). Not only does it look fucking awesome, it's filled with great performances, including Jeunet's favorite Dominique Pinon, who's not only in one role, but 7 of 'em (and to good effect). Perlman is perfect, the Octopus Sisters are genuinely abhorrent, and even the kids aren't annoying. I'd write more, but this one really has to be seen to be appreciated. Note: While there's not any real profanity or nudity or gruesomely depicted killings, it's definitely not for children in most respects.

Great Scene: The cause and effect sequence started by a single teardrop.

DVD Notes: Looks fantastic, sounds like French. Stick with the subtitles (recommended) or go dubbed, your choice. Regardless, Columbia/Tri-Star put out a great-looking transfer especially considering how dark most of the movie is, and includes a couple of other goodies as well. Some nicely detailed galleries of costume design and production sketches, some background info on the majors, the trailer. Last but not least a commentary with Juenet and Perlman, which is kinda difficult to comprehend Juenet's french accent at times, but usually rather informative.