Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

            I chose to watch two films by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, I chose Delicatessen and A Very Long Engagement. My roommate is a big fan of this director and told me a lot about him so I thought I would watch his films to get a more in depth look.
            I really enjoyed his style of films. Delicatessen was a post-apocalyptic film based in France where a butcher killed people and sold their meet to tenants who typically only lived off of grain, which was also the currency. The entire film had an orange-sepia tone to it, which made everything look dirty and dismal. A new tenant comes to live in the apartment building, the butcher plans on killing him for meat, but the tenant falls in love with the butchers daughter. Through a series of events the daughter hires an underground group of anarchists to kidnap the tenant so he won’t be murdered. In the end the wrong person is kidnapped but the tenant realizes what is going to happen and runs from the butcher. In the process the apartment building gets destroyed, along with many of its tenants who are craving more meat. The butcher corners the tenant but kills himself in an attempt to kill him. The next morning the film does not have the orange-sepia tone to it, it shows daylight for the first time and the two main characters, the tenant and butchers daughter, are both smiling in the daylight.
            For a post-apocalyptic film this was the most well written I have seen. There were no zombies or physically deformed people; the only out-of-the-ordinary aspect was the butcher selling human meets to his customer with their knowing. And the fact that tenants would look for people in which to kill for meat. Nothing was left to question at the end of the film, and there were some really interesting secondary characters. My favorite was a woman who continually tried to kill herself in the craziest of ways but always had something go wrong so she could never die. It was a really interesting film and I really enjoyed it.
            Although I did prefer A very Long Engagement over it. This film was much more of what you would call a chick-flick, but I think it was more well done. It is about a man and woman in France who fall in love as kids and grow up together. World War One comes around and her now fiancĂ© is sent to the trenches. She hears rumors that he has been killed but has no solid evidence of the fact and refuses to believe so. She searches for clues and talks to many men who served with him, all telling the story from a different perspective. This was what made the film so interesting. To have the same story told five times, but every time it was told it showed the scene shot from a different angle, and a little more was added every time. The film was shot beautifully, with amazing camera shots and colors. This film does seem more directed towards women because it is about a love that was never given up on, but I really enjoyed it because of the complexity of the story being told so many times with clues being added and because it was shot so well.
            Both films were French so reading the subtitles made me pay attention more and really get the story because I had to read every word opposed to not hearing everything when I typically watch a movie. I really enjoyed his style of directing as well as writing and will be watching more of his films.