Delicatessen

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Delicatessen
Delicatessen
""

The extras are not easy to find, which fits the mood of the movie. Take nothing for granted. Let's have fun. In this case, hunt the special features.

The trailer is priceless - bizarre, brilliant and surreal.

Copy picture

The Making Of featurette, entitled Fine Slices (And Delicacies), contains grainy images of film tests, mainly Dominique Pinon and Marie-Laure Dougnac in the tea pouring episode. They are an insight into what a working actor has to put up with. Otherwise, not interesting.

Behind The Scenes is hardly worth bothering with, but when Delicatessen was made (1990) people didn't keep happy snaps of hanging about waiting for the lighting guy to finish, or watching the cameraman set up.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet's commentary is the thing. He's coming at it 10 years late, he says, but it must have been longer because he's made Amelie by this time. "Caro hates commentaries," he explains, by way of excusing himself. Marc Caro has always been credited as joint director with Jeunet, but it's obvious from listening to this that Jeunet was the director and Carot co-writer and designer.

The commentary is full of fascination. Jeunet rambles beautifully - "We had two or three ideas, but no money." It took a year to find the right cast. "There was no cash for costumes - made them from rags." The man who played the postman was not an actor. He used to be Johnny Haliday's manager. "We had problems with the motor bike. He had never ridden one before. No time to teach him."

A week before filming began the mayor demanded 100,000 francs for the use of the derelict building. "We went away and built it in the studio."

The tea scene with Pinon and Dougnac was rehearsed for weeks. During the first take, Jeunet asked Pinon to sit in a different chair without telling Dougnac. He wanted to see her reaction. It gave the scene spontaneity. Jeunet did this kind of thing quite often, most strikingly when Jean-Claude Dreyfus slaps Dougnac in the face. Jeunet told Dreyfus to do it for real. "She didn't expect it. The tears in her eyes were real, also. The crew was crying, too."

In everyone's favourite scene, when Pinon and the busty girl are testing the bed springs, "Pinon found the rhythm difficult and he is a real technician. The girl was perfect." The other bit that always causes a response is the final failed suicide of Mme Interligator. "Audiences everywhere applaud."

Delicatessen won top prize at the Tokyo Film Festival. The award was announced in Japanese. "We didn't understand a word. And then I saw Alan Parker clapping like a seal."

As commentaries go, this one takes off.

Reviewed on: 04 May 2002
Share this with others on...
Delicatessen packshot
In a post-holocaust world, a butcher and landlord feeds his customers on the flesh of unfortunate tenants.
Amazon link

Read more Delicatessen disc reviews:

Amber Wilkinson: Blu-Ray

Product Code: MP140D

Region: 2

Ratio: 1:1.85

Sound: Dolby Surround

Extras: Commentary by Jean-Claude Jeunet; Making Of featurette; Behind The Scenes archive footage; Trailer


Search database: