HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  City of Lost Children, The sweet dreams, mes enfants
Year: 1995
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro
Stars: Ron Perlman, Daniel Emilfork, Judith Vittet, Dominique Pinon, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Genevieve Brunet, Odile Mallet, Mireille Mosse, Joseph Lucien, Serge Merlin, Francois Hadji-Lazaro, Rufus, Ticky Holgado, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Marc Caro
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction, Weirdo, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 5 votes)
Review: One of the great weirdo-epics of modern times, The City of Lost Children is a dazzling treat for young and old. In a strange world that is either the far-flung future or a retro-Fifties fantasyland, ageing, mad genius Krank (Daniel Emilfork) tries to rejuvenate himself by stealing the dreams of children. Childlike, circus strongman One (Ron Perlman) is horrified when his ever-hungry little brother (Joseph Lucien) becomes the latest tyke abducted by a cult of evil one-eyed cyborgs and sets out to find him. Joining his quest is a beautiful, brave little girl called Miette (Judith Vittet), leader of a gang of child thieves, who is on the run from Siamese twin crime bosses, the Octopus (Genevieve Brunet and Odile Malet). A perilous trail leads to adventures involving killer fleas, a gaggle of clones (all played by an amazing Dominique Pinon), a mysterious deep-sea diver, and Irvin the friendly, talking brain in a jar (French film icon, Jean-Louis Trintignant!), before Miette heroically enters the world of dreams for a showdown with Krank…

Jeunet and Caro’s fantastical follow-up to Delicatessen (1990) overflows with surreal wit and wondrous visual invention. From Darius Khondji’s deliciously baroque cinematography, to Jean-Paul Gaultier’s retro-chic fairytale costumes and the amazing, quasi-futuristic/steampunk sets, the whole movie has been designed to evoke childhood terrors. Told entirely from a child’s point of view, this is a gloomy world of bilious fog and sneaky shadows, monster buildings and looming grotesques, but also miraculous escapes, whimsical humour straight out of old French cartoons, and a plucky, spirited, Little Red Riding Hood-style heroine. It’s a world many have imagined as kids overdosed on bedtime stories, but never expected to see at the movies.

Upon release the film fell foul of French critics dismissive of effects-driven cinema and American reviewers who decried a lack of heart. Both claims are completely untrue. Much has been said about the filmmakers’ debt to Terry Gilliam, but their poetic flair and unique ability to adore all their characters, no matter how vile, outranks his casual cynicism. Krank is a sad and lonely miscreant dreaming of being human. The clones’ desperate search to uncover their ‘original’ is laced with slapstick pathos. Wise, old Irvin delivers a stirring soliloquy on the true nature of humanity. The great, big heart at the centre of this outlandish adventure is the touching friendship that blossoms between One and Miette. Very similar to the one between outsized kid Jean Reno and woman-child Natalie Portman in Leon (1995). Ron Perlman is wonderful as the hulking, sensitive, monosyllabic One and Judith Vittet is an astonishing, little actress (in, regrettably, her only film appearance) who completely runs away with the movie’s final twenty minutes. Really, what many critics failed to see was The City of Lost Children is less an example of “cinema-de-look”, than a techno-charged return to Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante, with its dreamy world of ports and boats charmed by the warmth of its leading players, and a passionate, haunting finale.

Two magical set-pieces have become the stuff of cinema legend. The first begins with One poisoned by the bite of a magic flea and compelled by the organ-grinder’s (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) playing to strangle Miette. A tear falls from her eye onto a spider’s web and sets off a jaw-dropping series of miraculous events. The second sees Miette sacrificing her youth while she tangles with Kronk amidst his Christmas dream. It’s dizzying, delirious, nightmarish and moving in equal measure.

Whether you see it as a Halloween-twist on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) or the most original fantasy-horror of the Nineties, The City of Lost Children simply has to be seen by all cult film fans.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 5490 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (3)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: