This 1995 dark fantasy was the second film by French director duo Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, following 1991’s Delicatessen.
Set in a grungy, post-industrial, retro-futurist world (brought to stunning life by truly gargantuan, highly detailed sets), its fairytale plot tells the story of a creepy mad scientist who kidnaps children in order to steal their dreams.
The film’s visuals are a tour de force; the ghosts of early pioneers Georges Méliès and Fritz Lang rub shoulders with Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and Tim Burton’s Gotham City, and anticipate the lonely, rusty world of Guillermo Del Toro’s Oscar-winner The Shape of Water by some 20 years. Interestingly, Jeunet and Caro cast regular Del Toro collaborator Ron Perlman for this film after seeing him in the Mexican director’s 1993 film Cronos, and this film should appeal to those who are fans of Del Toro’s dark fairytales-for-adults approach.
Joining Perlman is a cavalcade of strange, sinister and sad figures; from Dominique Pinon’s troupe of clones, to a literal disembodied brain in a jar. To add to the film’s offbeat credentials, the incomparable Twin Peaks composer Angelo Badalamenti contributed one of his uniquely haunting scores and none other than Jean Paul Gaultier designed the outlandish costumes.
This is a film where disparate and myriad influences come together to create one utterly unique whole.
France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, USA