The City Of Lost Children

The City Of Lost Children

****1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

When introduced to the writing of Mervyn Peake, the reader ropes up. There is always the fear of being sucked into a maelstrom of invention, from which there is no escape.

The same can be said of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, whose debut, Delicatessen, basted cannibalism with outrageous comedy. When imagination is this dangerous, tread carefully for you tread on your nightmares.

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To kidnap the child within, create illusions of unholy dominion and lay bare the horror of minds in turmoil requires exceptional bravery, or a streak of madness. Jeunet and Caro do not subscribe to conventional wisdom, nor the protection of the innocent. They are Gothic heroes of the absurd, absolute believers in the power of make-believe to alter perception absolutely.

Their story of a fairground strongman (Ron Perlman), who goes in search of his little brother who has been snatched by the forces of a manufactured intelligence, living in the laboratory of a brain in a fish tank, off shore on a macabre rig, surrounded by a minefield and populated by clones, freaks and stolen children, is enriched by grotesque imagery, labyrinthine sub-plots, desperate romanticism, black blooded humour, a cornucopia of ideas and dazzling brilliance.

This is a work of originality without precedent, unique and unsafe. Take ropes.

Reviewed on: 21 Nov 2006
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A fairground strongman searches for his brother in a grotesque world of artificial intelligence.
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Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro

Writer: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro, Gilles Adrien,

Starring: Ron Perlman, Daniel Emilfork, Judith Vittet, Dominique Pinon, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Geneviève Brunet, Odile Mallet, Mireille Mossé, Serge Merlin, Rufus, Ticky Holgado

Year: 1995

Runtime: 112 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France/Germany/Spain

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If you like this, try:

Delicatessen
The Devil's Backbone
Micmacs