Saturday, July 29, 2006

Delicatessen


A charity shop cassette of the soundtrack from that wonderful film "Delicatessen" - probably my second favourite french film, only surpassed by "Amelie" which was also made by the same director. All Jean-Pierre Jeunet's films are fantastic and this surreal black comedy is one of the best.

"Delicatessen (1991) was financed on the success of Foutaises by long time collaborator and Betty Blue producer Claudie Ossard. The budget was twenty million francs, quite a high gamble for a debut. The money was well spent, you can see every centime on the screen. The plot: a house with a menagerie of tenants and a deli below. A butcher with a beautiful but myopic cello playing daughter. Meat is on everyone's mind and it's these tenants that may supply it, as dinner. Grain is the currency. Everyone is out to survive the best way that they can. Send in the clown, Louison (Dominique Pinon), looking for a room in exchange for handyman work. It soon becomes very clear that he will be next on the menu if he doesn't stay ahead of the game. Fear not for the Troglodistes, an army of underground terrorist vegetarians, are on hand to save the day. Maybe.
The plot is superfluous to the relentless tide of set pieces. The films world-wide success is perhaps accountable to it's trailer which consists of one of the set-pieces in its entirety; it is also devoid of both subtitles and dialogue so your average cinema goer is not marginalised, until they've parted with their hard earned cash that is. It comprises the now famous bonking scene, where the creaking springs of the bed dictate the pace at which the entire household carries out its daily business and results in a truly catastrophic climax!
Jeunet and Caro enjoy exploring consequences, and mathematicians studying Chaos Theory could have endless fun investigating the probabilities of the various events occurring. The repercussions that result from a ball of string falling down the stairs have to be seen to be believed. There are also the Heath Robinson style devices which Amore, a particularly paranoid tenant, devises to bring about her suicide, which fail hopelessly at the very last moment.
Whilst the context of the film appears post-apocalyptic it could easily be placed in the rationed environment of post-war France. In this scenario modern ideals of everyone out for themselves meet a restrictive, old fashioned, yet community based society. The only time this oppressive, fog and grime ridden world is ejected is in the final shot, with our hero and heroine playing their respective instruments (her a cello , he his trusty saw) in the oil painting intensity daylight on the rooftop. It's almost heaven, and perhaps it is.
Visually the film is a masterpiece; the camera swirls and glides effortlessly yet the overall look is that of the 1940's French films it often alludes to. Carné, Renoir and Ophuls are clearly the inspiration behind Khondji's breathtaking cinematography. Ironically a great deal of this classical style visualisation was achieved using post-production video enhancement but hey, that's post-modernism for you. Khondji (who's photography on Se7en saved the Dr Phibes meets Silence of the Lambs plot) uses a high contrast almost sepia toned lighting to further heighten the sense of otherworldliness. "

Discover more about Jean-Pierre Jeunet at his officcial website HERE.


H.Manzi/M.Mores - Una Lagrima Tuya

P.Salvero - Bongo Bolero

Lonnie McIntire - Dreams Of Old Hawaii


These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

4 comments:

Andy Chase said...

Wow, I doubt the soundtrack was ever even released in the U.S... I'd love to get a copy of this! That review is pretty spot-on, Delicatessen is not to missed!

Muse said...

Great film, although I can't remember the music right now! Have you seen the Dinner Game? It's like watching Laurel & Hardy. You can see it over and over and never get tired of the comedic touches!
Thanks for stopping by my blog also.
Have you seen this:
http://einsteins-dream.blogspot.com/
We may have crossed paths in the early 90s before I dropped out for awhile.
Cheers!

michael said...

Thanks Andy and Muse for dropping by. No idea if the soundtrack was ever released in the U.S.
Not seen the Dinner Game muse- I shall look out for it. Who is the director?
Thanks for the link. I don't remember you , then I used to post mail to lots of people back in the 90's- not so much these days.

Artyblartfast said...

Great tunes from a top film.
Just 20 million Francs? What incredible value for money.
City of Lost Children is similarily brill, and has the same steam-powered feel to it.