Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
The City of Lost Children
Where happily ever after is just a dream.
A scientist in a surrealist society kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process.
When you're born in the gutter you end up in the port.
A long time ago, in a movie theater far far away, the only film I had seen from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet was Alien: Resurrection. It didn't exactly ignite a desire in me to pursue anything in his filmography. Although my opinion on the director was dramatically changed after seeing Amélie for obvious reasons, it took over 15 years for me to finally see what I believe is the film that got Jeunet the Alien sequel... for all the wrong reasons.
The City of Lost Children is a dark and disturbing fairytale. I could easily see why a Hollywood studio would drool over the thought of getting Jeunet…
The City of Lost Children is a wonderfully dark fairy-tale, spiced up by the visual flair of Jeunet and Caro.
There is something inescapably alluring about a dark tale that is about children but perhaps isn’t suitable for them. Stories like this often reside in between dark fantasy and light-hearted morality tale and this one is no exception. The conceit is rather classic, evil man tries to steal dreams from children. It is therefore not so much the content of the film that makes it so enjoyable, but most definitely the approach the pair of directors take to present it. It is visually as rich as it is grim.
Like their previous collaboration Delicatessen this film has a lovely fluidity…
If Tim Burton had a nightmare after watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, it would probably have turned out something like The City of Lost Children. Set in a twisted, cyberpunk, surrealist alternate post-apocalyptic reality, The City of Lost Children features more imagination per square inch then the average year's worth of films combined. The story follows One, a circus strongman who goes on a quest to save his little brother from the clutches of a mad scientist trying to steal the dreams of children. Along the way he joins forces with a tough young orphan named Miette, and meets a host of odd and colorful characters.
I could fill up a small novel just listing off some of the strange…
The City of Lost Children's surrealism is both charming and disturbing. A steampunk fairytale from directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, the film is a plethora of peculiar characters and settings. On an oil rig in the middle of an ocean reside an assortment of failed "experiments" belonging to a missing genius. These include a diminutive woman named Miss Bismuth, a brain in a tank nicknamed Uncle Irvin, six clones (played by the brilliant Dominique Pinon), an assemblage of cyclopses with acute hearing, and finally the humanoid Krank, whose despair at not being able to dream is the catalyst for much of the action.
Add to this the former Russian sailor One (whose little brother is kidnapped by Krank), and…
"Once upon a time there was an inventor so gifted that he could create life. A truly remarkable man."
Jean-Pierre Jeunet The City of Lost Children is a nightmarish fairy tale, that I would love to dream every night.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet has an eye for detail and specially and eye for creating immersive worlds, where the line of fantasy and reality is a very thing blurry line.
Jeunet cinematography is beautiful and rich, when you watch The City of Lost Children you get transported to a gritty, nasty place, that you don't want to leave.
Ron Pearlman as Mr. One, is as always great, what can I say the dude was made for roles like this,…
This movie was really weird. But even with that said it was still a whole lot of fun for one like myself to watch. At this moment I could even say it's my favourite film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (I'm not as in love with Amélie like I know most are), because his weird style seems to fit in best with whatever it is that he's created here. He's provided a rather nice concept here and in the very end what I got was something I enjoyed very highly. The visual style is wonderful and it enhances the experience of the film a lot more. I don't even know how else I can describe it, but I guess I can leave off saying that it was just such a fun time for someone like myself, and a rather nice surprise, too.
I thought for sure I would understand this better twenty years later. Not the case.
I now have a theory that every one of Jeunet and Caro's movies are in the same universe.
Timeline is as follows:
A Very Long Engagement>The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet>Amelie>Micmacs>Delicatessan>The City Of Lost Children>Alien: Resurrection>Dante 01.
Hadn't watched this in a few years, remains one of my favorite films.
This movie is totally loaded with symbolistry and a French speaking Ron Perlman.
Perfectly weird and bizarre characters navigate an endless labyrinth of steampunk machinations, distorted shadows, strange angles, and impossible depths bathed in rusty amber light. A triumph of lovely strangeness. I wish this movie had lasted forever.
This work of steampunk whimsy never quite lives up to its brilliant premise. Its narrative is overstuffed and inaccessible, the antithesis of the fluid, dreamlike aesthetic implied by its title and poster.
I love films with great atmosphere, especially sci-fi or fantasy, or in this case both. The City of Lost Children is a bizarre, scary, nightmarish, wondrous french film that, to me, is pretty much perfect. Ron Perlman is our hero here and he is perfectly casted. The rest of the cast fits right in as well. Even the children were perfectly casted. I got heavy Terry Gilliam and Guillermo Del Toro vibes. Also that Dark City film from 1998. If you are a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, steam-punk, etc, than this is a absolute must see!
So confused. Must watch again.
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…