Aug 24, 2010

Les Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001) - happiness 101

directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet / starring Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz

My favourite Paris movies, #2

Amelie is a young, naive, introverted woman, leading a simple and secure life in Montmartre, Paris. The death of Princess Diana and the events caused by it change her life forever. And many other lives, too.

I don't know how or what to write about Amelie. Everyone knows the film. Everyone loves it. And if they don't, there's something slightly wrong about them. So I don't think I will write just a regular post, because everyone knows Amelie is the ultimate feel-good film, and that Audrey Tautou is simply wonderful - she practically IS Amelie - and so on.

Instead I'll just make a list of things I love about Amelie. (That's pretty much what my post would have been, anyway.) This of course requires me to watch the film once again while I'm writing the list, which I don't mind at all.

  • The opening credits, showing the young Amelie entertaining herself with various, imaginative little ways. I like especially the part above, the strawberry eating.
  • Everyone's likes and dislikes.
  • The music.
  • Amelie photographing the clouds shaped like bunnies and teddy bears.
  • Pretty much everything the little Amelie does.
  • The grown up Amelie's haircut. And her clothes. And her apartment.
  • The café she works in.
  • That I've been in the café she works in!
  • The way she becomes a regular do-gooder.
  • "I'm nobody's little weasel."
  • Lucien.
  • How they've made Paris look unrealistically romantic and magical. I love the colours of the film.
  • The girl with the glass in Glass Man's painting.
  • Amelie's good deeds. All of them. Especially the travelling garden gnome. And how she helps the blind man.
  • Nino's scrap book and the mystery of the bald man.
  • Amelie teaching the evil man next door a lesson.
  • "Without you, today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's."
  • Amelie's pig bedside lamp.
  • The wall-shattering toilette sex.
  • How she always picks up a good stone when she sees one.
  • Ha! Sacre Couer!
  • How Amelie once in a while looks right into the camera and smiles.
  • Did I mention music already?
  • "You'll never be a vegetable. Even artichoces have hearts."
  • Amelie's explanations why Nino doesn't show up in time to the café. (He either didn't find the photo or a gang of bank robbers took him hostage, etc.)
  • Amelie's collegues and the regular customers. Especially Hipolito, the failed writer.
  • The little kisses in the end.
  • The happy ending montage.
  • How by the end of the film you just have to admit that life is good, dammit.

Towards the end I began to forget I was supposed to be looking for things that make Amelie so damn brilliant. Because I was too concentrated on enjoying that damn brilliance. Ah, the world is an inch better place, once again.

"It's better to help people than a garden gnome."

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