Dir: Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1991. Starring: Dominique Pinon, Marie-Laure Dougnac, Jean-Claude Dreyfus. French. Foreign.
Delicatessen: A Pound of Perfection
I hate waiting to eat. Especially when I'm starving. I become cranky. My cinematic appetite has been drooling for the domestic DVD release of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro's Delicatessen for years now. Fortunately my French film fast has come to an end.
ODD STORY SHORT:
An out-of-work circus performer shows up at a butcher shop in the middle of a post-apocalyptic wasteland to answer an ad for a handy man. The Butcher, also the landlord, has an agenda and a clumsy yet adorable wallflower of a daughter.
The neighbors run the eccentric gamut. Have you ever met a troglodyte? And more importantly, what do you eat after an apocalypse? Let's just say few things go as planned.
Coming from the worlds of animation and advertising most likely gave Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro much time to experiment with various aspects of film design. This is put to the test on screen to great effect. Amazing sequences are played out like well-crafted jokes or the tumbling of an elaborate domino configuration. I can't help but feel one or both of the filmmakers are Charlie Chaplin fans. The visual landscape is rich and lived-in, drenched in musty browns, reds and greens. The characters can be quite cartoonish at times, only adding to the over-all oddity of this world. I believe in this "strange France" even though I can only visit via my DVD player.
Aside from the film the DVD includes some interesting tid bits. Included are: all the trailers (including teasers), a document of the filming, Jeunet's own archive footage and best of all a director's commentary track (in French with subtitles). The commentary track is done solo by Jeunet. It would appear for whatever reason that Mr. Caro has excluded himself from all the extra features. He is virtually not seen or heard outside of the film [yes, he's in the movie folks].
Any fan of the extremely visual will be tickled pink by this film and should really view the other works of Jeunet and Caro (City of Lost Children and even Alien: Resurrection [gasp]). Delicatessen is the first movie they made and the last one to be released on DVD. There must be a good reason. Perhaps they were saving the best dish for last. Do yourself a favor, treat yourself to the expensive stuff next time you stop by the chopping block. Bon Appetit!