HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
Anbessa
Man in Grey, The
   
 
Newest Articles
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
   
 
  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 4614 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: