Saturday, March 18, 2006

The City of Lost Children

Title: La cité des enfants perdus -aka- The City of Lost Children (1995)
Dir: Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Tagline: Where happily ever after is just a dream.
Rating: **** out of 5 stars

If nothing else, you've gotta give a movie like this credit for being absolutely unlike anything you've ever seen before. The closest comparison I could make is "Brazil" but really the only thing they have in common is that each is so unique!

Firstly, I love fantasy films. They are so rarely made anymore. There's nothing quite like watching a movie as if through the imagination of a child. Sorry if that sounded cliche, but it's true. City of Lost Children is definitely that sort of movie, chock full of dreamlike imagery and eccentric characters.

And like most fantasy films of this type, the children are the strongest and most intelligent characters, surrounded by strange, untrustworthy adults. And in City we have Ron Perlman's character - a circus strongman - who has the body of an adult but the mind of a child, thus bringing the best of both worlds.

So here's a quick rundown: A lonely scientist, frsutrated that he cannot dream, is kidnapping children so that he can steal their dreams through a machine. He kidnaps the young brother of a circus strongman named One (Perlman), who goes after his little brother with the help of a young pickpocket girl. Standing in their way is the mad scientist, his tiny test-tube-baby wife, and his "sons" who are actually clones of himself. There's also some child-stealing "Cyclopses" and a pair of evil Siamese sisters known collectively as "The Octopus".

Sound weird? It is. And it's great. The cinematography is beautiful and imaginitive, as you'd expect of Jeunet. It might be a little off-putting at the start if you're not accustomed to strange movies, but it begins to make sense after a bit.

City is the kind of film you'll remember. 'Forgettable' is just not a word you'd associate with this movie. If you like any of Jeunet's other films - and for most of you, that means Amelie - you should definitely check this one out. And the same goes for you Gilliam fans.


Anonymous said...

Not to nitpick, but technically Krank is another one of the creations of the original scientist (who shows up at the end) not the actual creator.


Anonymous said...

Well that is explained in the beginning of the film when the brain tells the whole story to explain why Krank doesn't have dreams. All of them are flawed and that is his flaw.

Heather said...

LOL, nitpick indeed.

I never said Krank wasn't the scientist's creation. I'm guessing you're talking about the pt where I said the brothers are clones of Krank, in which case I didn't say Krank created his clones, I just said they were clones of him. If that's wrong, forgive me since it's been two months since I saw the movie.

But more importantly, I try not to give away things that aren't apparent until the end of the movie :-P

Heather said...

I edited my first comment, hence why it's now out of order with your response, heh

But yeah, I don't recall figuring that out from the brain's story. That sort of stuff isn't really made clear (to me anyway) until the scientist appears.

Heather said...

If you really wanna nitpick, I'm surprised you didn't bitch I called them "sons" (i used "" on purpose). Were they called brothers in the film? I can't even remember.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm pretty sure they referred to them as sons in that same story, but I can always go back and check for you ;-)

Anonymous said...

And also, no they aren't clones of Krank, they are clones of the scientist, which is why they look exactly like him, which IS what you don't know til he gets his memory back.