For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Dystopian Movies, here’s a review of City of Lost Children (1995) by Reut of Sweet Archive
Thanks again to James of Back to the Viewer for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by S.G. Liput of Rhyme and Reason. We will be reviewing our favorite fantasy/sci-fi animated movies (non-Disney or Pixar) . Please get me your submissions by 25th May by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org Try to think out of the box! Great choice S.G.!
Let’s see what Reut thought of this movie:
City of Lost Children (1995)
I was really debating which film to choose for MovieRob’s Genre Grandeur. This month’s topic is Dystopian Movies chosen by James of Back to the Viewer, a topic which I particularly like as it includes so many brilliant movies. I finally decided to go for one of my all-time favorites, the 1995 French film The City of Lost Children. I hope you’ll enjoy my review and thanks to James for his creative topic.
The City of Lost Children (1995), La cité des enfants perdus, in French, is a dystopian candy set to present a parallel world controlled by a scientist named Krunk (Daniel Emilfork), a long faced and grotesque looking man who’s considered to be a monster for his inability to dream. In order to fix his gloomy situation he kidnaps children and steals their dreams in the hopes of slowing down his aging process. The dark world Krunk created contains foul humans called Cyclopes who have computerized hearing devices attached to their eye and head that enables them to visualize human sound waves. Miserable by his dreamless nights, Krunk is dedicatedly assisted and comforted by his cloned brothers who can’t seem to decide who the original is, his 3 inches tall mother and his creator, a talking brain in a bubbling fish tank. The children are usually poor orphans surviving the dark, labyrinth-like alleys by working under the villainous control of the Siamese twins, handing down stolen loot and money. To this fantastic plot joins a strong stuntman named One (Ron Perlman), whose little adopted brother gets kidnaped by the Cyclopes. While searching for his brother, One encounters Miette, a beautiful and clever little girl who’s also well aware of his brother’s whereabouts.
Watching The City of Lost Children is like experiencing an ongoing nightmare. Most scenes are overwhelming because of their hallucinatory nature. Scenes of kidnaped children being put in a Christmas like room full of toys and tiny beds, they’re crying and being scared by Santa impersonators. It’s, undoubtedly, the horrific environment that directors Caro and Jeunet brilliantly aimed for and it might not be suited for those with weak hearts.
As mentioned above, this French masterpiece is directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, a duo which I admire very much as they are also responsible for the film Delicatessen (1991), a dark fantasy about cannibalism. The City of Lost Children is no doubt their visual success as they took the world as we know it and created its dark and bleak parallel. Oblivion. The film is well conducted beyond belief and can only be invented by this highly imaginative combination. The plot can be somewhat confusing as to what exactly is going on. It’s like a colorful and intimidating vortex of imagery. I enjoy this film mainly because of the setting and odd characters, their costumes and their weird and often cruel dialogs, and the mesmerizing music composed by the great Angelo Badalamenti, best known for his work with film director David Lynch on Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive.
The cast is especially brilliant here and I’m putting a strong emphasis on Ron Perlman’s beasty facial features and broken French which contribute highly to his role as One. Daniel Emilfork is brilliant as Krunk. I don’t think they could’ve found anyone else better suiting for this role than him. I don’t know him from other films, but oh boy, is he scary looking! The girl, Miette, played by an unknown actress named Judith Vittet is a beautiful little gem which unbelievably reminds me of the girl from Pan’s Labyrinth.
I can only speak for myself when I say that I love this film, but it can defiantly be a little too much at times. From what you’ve probably read so far you can figure out this film is not for any occasion. It’s heavy with details and puts your brain into a lot of work, and not always you feel like thinking while watching a film. Sometime you watch a film just to put your mind at ease. Not the case here. Overall The City of Lost Children is one I highly recommend to any fantasy / Sci-fi/ horror film lover to watch at least once. And if you liked this one, you’re bound to love Delicatessen as well.