Mark Metcalf
Moving Pictures


By - Jul 3rd, 2010 04:00 am
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Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

A lot of young film makers point to Jean-Pierre Jeunet as an inspiration.

* He has a completely distinct and personal voice as a film maker.
* His visual sense is stunningly unique and beautiful.
* His sense of story and character is whimsical and fun, yet with a profound sympathy and sadness running throughout.
* He is reportedly self-taught in the art of cinema.
* And he has been remarkably successful in a relatively short amount of time.

I think The City of Lost Children is a masterwork. Delicatessen and Amelie are wonderful films that should be seen by everyone, each in its own right.  Jeunet came over to the United States to make Alien: Resurrection for Fox and, like many good artists before him, once he saw how a Hollywood studio can devour dreams, he returned home to Paris and went back to making his own creations.

The latest of these is MicMacs, starring Dany Boon. Boon plays Bazil, a video store clerk who whose head happens to stop an errant bullet during a robbery. The bullet lodges in such a place that Bazil sits forever at the edge of death. He loses everything and ends up on the street with a collection junkyard friends that are, to say the least, eccentric, strange, bizarre, unusual, weird, Dickensian, freakish, carnival-like… and yet a fairly well functioning family.

Because weapons manufacturers killed his father and placed him on the precipice of oblivion, Bazil and his friends create a plan of revenge. Like so much of Jeunet’s work, their plan is similar to a Rube Goldberg machine. Intricate planning, precise timing and some kinky karma enable this band of outsiders to satisfy all of our wishes and bring down the corporate killers.

is stunning to look at and delightful to see. It is so perfect in its execution and clever in all its devices that after a while you kind of want it to fail, wish for a line to be misplaced, an image to be overrich, a joke to fall flat. The feeling, finally, is that there may be no heart. But it is so warmly conceived, so happily and expertly executed, and there is tenderness is right in the middle of the story, there must be a soul in there somewhere, somehow, beneath the gloss and behind the shimmer.

I may have to see it again just to look for that most important of all elements: the heart.

MicMacs is currently playing exclusively at the beautiful Oriental Theatre on Farwell.

Categories: Movies

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