DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Amelie

The picture quality is not great on this DVD, but then Amelie's colour chart is unconventional anyway.

At first glance, there don't seem to be any extras at all, other than Scene and Subtitle Selection, plus Audio Setup. What, you may ask, is Audio Setup? Something to do with the sound system? Actually, if you click on it, you'll discover a Director's Commentary.

Copy picture

Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a charmer. He begins: "Don't listen. I'm going to ruin everything." He means the poetry. Talking about his film is like analysing moonbeams. It can be done, but not in the way you want.

Jeunet's honesty is so refreshing. "I made Amelie for the introduction." He means the first 20 minutes, the short history of her parents and early life, told in quirky images, full of bizarre humour. He admits to loving credit sequences, not necessarily these, but credits in general.

You wouldn't have thought that he was a fan of computer-generated anything, but admits he used quite a lot here. The goldfish, for instance, was CGI. "It's very difficult to direct a real fish, believe me," he says.

Dominique Pinon played the lead in Delicatessen. He has a supporting role here. Jeunet calls him "my favourite actor" and remembers when Amelie was shown at the Toronto Film Festival. "People applauded when he appeared."

The commentary is full of fascinating trivia. Audrey Tautou couldn't skim stones over water ("She didn't know ricochet. We had to use digital"). The film was shot in Germany ("I don't know why"), except for the cafe ("It took me a year to persuade them to let me shoot there"), which stands a couple of streets away from Jeunet's apartment in Montmartre and is now flooded with Amelie devotees. The actress who played the cafe owner was the mother in Truffaut's Les Quatres Cents Coups. Many of the stories were based on real events, "like the death of the mother".

Jeunet admits that it's difficult to film outside in France. "People are so mean." He remembers a man who parked his car in front of the camera during the shooting of a scene and they had to wait hours until he came back to drive it away. This wouldn't happen in New York.

"I hate the first week of shooting," he admits. "It's always terrible. I discover the bad things too late."

He's too modest to talk of the good things.

Reviewed on: 11 May 2002
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Amelie packshot
A girl with an eccentric, repressed childhood grows up attracted to the odd detail in everyday life and to the strangest people.
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Product Code: MP128D

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1; DTS

Extras: Scene Selection; Audio Setup; Subtitle Selection; Director

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