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Amelie, 2001

Amelie was my first introduction into movies from this particular director and is what I believe to be his second strongest film following The City of Lost Children.  For those who haven’t yet seen it, it is highly recommended.  It is very light-hearted and positive, following the life of Amelie Poulin (played by Audrey Tatou), a twenty-something waitress at a Parisian restaurant who decides to become a do-gooder who helps others better their lives and in the process betters her own life as well. Important features of most of Jeunet’s films are included in this work, like the casting of Dominique Pinon as a character, the usage of heavily saturated coloring that gives the film a warm, colorful intensity.  Jeunet is prone to including orphans in his stories and while Amelie is not technically an orphan since her father is still alive, the father’s distance and emotional coldness make him almost dead enough for Amelie to take on a bit of the qualities of an orphan. Amelie is so striking to me personally in its startlingly dramatic usage of colors and editing.

It has been rumored that during production, before any film was shot at a location, it was stripped fully of any trash and cleaned very thoroughly, to present a more beautiful scene which was also more in keeping with Jean-Pierre’s wish for the movie to have a dream-like quality.  It relies heavily upon green, red, and yellow based on the work of a Brazilian painter and most of the stories and anecdotes used to tell Amelie’s story are parts of the personal memories of the director.