(Pascal Benezech, Dominique Pinon, et al / DVD / NR / (1992) 2006 / Miramax)
Overview: In a post-apocolyptic society where food is so rare it's invaluable and used as currency and people eat each other a young clown applies for a job at a local delicatessen. The butcher's intent is to have him work for a little and then serve him to his stranger than normal tenants who pay him in, of course, grain. This clown falls in love with the butcher's daughter who tries to foil her father's plans by contacting the rebels. The rebels are possibly the most sensible of the lot, as they see food as food and not money.
DVD Verdict: This is it! As delirious as 'Amelie' made me, as visually stunning as 'City of Lost Children' was, this was the first Jean-Pierre Jeunet (and Marc Caro!) movie I ever saw and it's still my favorite. Darker in tone than any of his other films it's still packed with hilarious moments and every scene is impeccably and sumptuously shot with colors so luminous you're TV will thank you personally for buying this movie. The central joke in the film, that others seem to miss, is that the characters aren't driven by hunger. Yes, it's set in some undisclosed time of bleak social collapse where meat is very, very scarce. Yes, an enterprising butcher uses certain tenants to do little jobs around the apartment building he owns before chopping them up and selling them to his other tenants (who are all in on it by the way). But the tenants buy the meat with dried grain and corn and beans. Not just a handful of grain, but quite a bit. More grain than meat. Think about that for a second. They're not starving. They could easily use that grain to make a myriad of meals, but instead they use it to buy meat. Not because they need it, but because they want it. Then, out of the swirling ever present fog, stumbles an unassuming, down on his luck ex-clown looking for work and everything goes to hell. Well, mostly everything. I can't recommend this movie enough. If you're tired of the bland Hollywood fare at your local Cineplex and want something with a little more ... flavor ... check this out. You won't be disappointed. And don't worry, it may seem like I've given away quite a bit of the movie in this review, but I haven't. You learn everything I've mentioned in the first five minutes or so of the film. The rest of the movie just sort of careens wildly out of control from there. The oddities of the characters are what take this dark comedy to the next level: a tough postman; a pair of brothers who make "moo" boxes, and an aristocratic old lady who goes to great - and unsuccessful - lengths to kill herself, Rube Goldberg-style. Julie and the innocent Louison are a bright spot, but the Troglodytes are a bit over-the-top. Really, must they be THAT dumb? So sure, 'Delicatessen' is an acquired taste. Okay, now that I've got that out of my system, here's the real end of the review: Jean-Pierre Jeunet's dark comedy is a bit hard to swallow at first, but the wickedly funny characters and offbeat script will win you over. This is a Widscreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Commentary by: Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Fine Cooked Meats: A nod to 'Delicatessen'
The archives of Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Audio Tracks: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)