Thursday, June 16, 2005


A French movie set in Paris and released in 2001. I chanced upon this during my usual channel surfing and had to fight really hard for it with my nursery-going cousins to watch this over Cartoon Network and Pogo. It was worth it too. I could get only the second half of the movie, but that itself got me hooked.

Charming Audrey Tautou in Miramax Zoe's Amelie - 2001

The movie is very charming in the way it has been directed. Something like a cross between a documentary and a suspense sitcom. Writer director Jean Pierre Jeunet has beyond any doubt put a lot of effort into the making of this lovely movie.

*** Warning - Spoiler ahead ***
This movie is about a very sweet but a too introverted and a very observant young lady called Amélie who plays God to make some amazing co-incidences happen in other people's lives to make their lives better. For instance, bringing together a couple who were too scared to communicate their feelings for each other and binding together a pair of painters. But she chooses to execute all these behind a veil of mystery and anonymity and fails to do the same in her own life.

Her introvert nature is depicted so well in the sequences where she talks boldly to Nino (who she has the hots for) over phone and writes small messages but chickens out whenever she meets him face to face. But then things change and finally they get together and it's a happy ending.
*** End of spoiler ***

It also helps that the movie is full of Paris landscapes and that Amélie and her sweetheart Nino are pleasant to the eye and that there are a lot of mystery sequences in the movie that you get sucked into slowly that before you know you are 100% into it. Not to mention some of those nicely thought out comedy sequences.

But the only spoiler for me in this entire experience was the subtitles. They distract you so much and sometimes make you miss those just-a-second-but-worth-a-million scenes. Maybe I should watch this movie once more.


Jithu said...

the story-telling-way of the film, the cinemtography and the way in which simple but unnoticed things in life are described were awesome!

btw w/o subtitles, its difficult to catch up with french (i hope its french ;-)).

Jupe said...

Beg to differ coz in a lot of ways the best part of the movie are the dialogues/voiceovers which without the subtitles make very little sense...and if you haven't seen the first half then you have missed the better part of the movie...Sample these introduction lines

On September 3rd 1973, at 6:28pm and 32 seconds, a bluebottle fly capable of 14,670 wing beats a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre. At the same moment, on a restaurant terrace nearby, the wind magically made two glasses dance unseen on a tablecloth. Meanwhile, in a 5th-floor flat, 28 Avenue Trudaine, Paris 9, returning from his best friend's funeral, Eugène Colère erased his name from his address book. At the same moment, a sperm with one X chromosome, belonging to Raphaël Poulain, made a dash for an egg in his wife Amandine. Nine months later, Amélie Poulain was born.

...and the closing lines....

September 28th 1997. It is exactly 11am. At the funfair, near the ghost train, the marshmallow twister is twisting. Meanwhile, on a bench in Villette Square, Félix Lerbier learns there are more links in his brain than atoms in the universe. Meanwhile, at the Sacré Coeur, the monks are practicing their backhand. The temperature is 24°C, humidity 70%, atmospheric pressure 999 millibars.

Definitely a movie that is worth multiple viewings..and not to worry too since Zee Movies plays it once a week..

Girl With Big Eyes said...

You said it Jithu!

I am thankful for the subtitles too, but there were so many scenes where I
just finished reading the dialogues
and already the frame had changed :(
I was watching this in the same room
as two kids who were trying to play
with their building blocks and guns
and what not and without the subtitles, even if this movie was in English, I wouldn't heard much.

Btw Jupe, how do you know those
looooong opening and closing lines so
well? Don't tell me you are a memory champ!

If you ARE one, so bad of you
not to gimme some tips and tricks on
the memory front.

Those lines were awesome. I know you
are not going to like this, but they
reminded me of THHG by Mr.
Adams :)

Phew! finally found them in a Memorable Quotes site :)

Pramod said...

This is one of my favourite movies - though I don't think there is much support for me amongst my Indian friends. I am sure that even with subtitles - which I often find rather distracting - you do get a chance to see many of the subtlities of life. Funny isn't it that they had to exagerate normal things to highlight the subtle things. I mean, had the story situation been a normal one, even with all the subtle things - we sure would have missed it. Strange are our ways of seeing things!

Some interesting things I found was for example almost all of the movie was shot in locations in Paris - I can so clearly see Montmatre and other areas. This brings to life so much reality - which would have been missed had they tried to recreate Paris in a studio - so very often done! But yes, I do need to add that real Paris is not so clean and ideal as shown in the movie. Happened to walk by that area once - and they had cleaned up all the graffitti and the ads and redid the area in a much more colourful way. But lots of people in the background I am told are real people.

Now what I found rather intriguing is the reaction of many of my Indian friends. I had circulated my DVD to most of my friendsd - telling, hey here is a movie that will leave you feeling happy - most of them gave my DVD back with a look that said - why the hell did I make them watch this stupid movie - some very nice enough to tell that too! Haven't figured that out yet. But am happy to see some Indian fans now :-)

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Well isn't that what make us all different?

Or maybe, give them some time to grow up to such movies. Reminds me of a similar incident 12 years back.

My uncle from US had brought some Video cassettes as gifts - one for each family. He himself chose the movie Philadelphia for us. We watched the movie for half an hour and instantly called him up asking him whether we can exchange it for the Charlie Chaplin or Pink Panther cartoon :)

Lost in trance... said...

Apart from Amelie's sense of humour(in its most perverted ways) whta I luvved in the movie is the colours...The whole movie is lit up in bright shades, it just feels nice to watch it !!! Dude-ni, you GOTTA watch it from the start :)

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Right! I guess it's the play of colours that made me sit up and watch that movie

Jupe said...

YOu haven't heard of ? I can't imagine a life without that database ;-)

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Not until now. Tx :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful movie..and liked its name very much.."Amelie"..
Do you remember her thoughts..when her boy friend is late for their meeting...:-).(That he might have caught by afgan people, and will be a shepered some where in afganisthan....)..Many times I had also made stories of my own in similar situations..