Jeunet’s Filmic Spivet

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Anybody who knows me realises that I have a very big man crush on French film director Jean Pierre Jeunet.

If the name doesn’t ring a bell, how about a picture by way of a clue?

No closer?

Typical randomness from Delicatessen

I’ve even got a soft spot for this flick, despite it buggering up Joss Whedon‘s screenplay and not being half as good as it should have been.

My favourite Jeunet film, though, isn’t “Amelie” or one of his early collaborations with Marc Caro – nope, it’s this literary adaptation.

Audrey Tautou and Jean Pierre Jeunet, on the Musee D’Orsay set of A Very Long Engagement

If you watched “Amelie” and found its depiction of Paris troubling (this ain’t the same European capital portrayed so viscerally in “La Haine”, for example) and it’s tone too cartoon-like (kind of missing the point, but I can see why someone might be of that mind), “A Very Long Engagement” is the Jeunet film for you.  By turns bleak, romantic, despairing, uplifting, surreal and possessed of one of the most quietly heart-rending endings of any film that I’ve ever seen, I suggest that you watch it on Netflix, rent it or just grab it off Amazon – just writing about it makes me want to watch it again, which is the sign of a great movie.

In some respects, it suffered at the box office because despite reteaming Jeunet and his “Amelie” muse, Audrey Tautou, it defiantly wasn’t “Amelie 2: The Quirkening” – a fate which also befell Jeunet’s subsequent and quite charming anti-gun violence fable, MicMacs.

Refreshingly, Jeunet doesn’t appear to be deciding on taking the easy road with his next film, “The Selected Works Of TS Spivet”, based on a novel by Rief Larson and marking Jeunet’s first engagement with 3D (having seen and loved Scorsese’s “Hugo” a few weeks ago, I’m quite cheered to learn that Jeunet is collaborating with the stereographer from that film on this tale).

Empire Online has a story today on what Jeunet’s cooking up – Helena Bonham Carter and Kathy Bates have been added to the cast, Canadian genre staple Callum Keith Rennie is also aboard and young Kyle Catlett plays the titular lead, with shooting to begin in Canada in June.

doesn’t make a film every couple of years, but when he does it’s usually worth it.

 

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