74. Jean-Pierre Jeunet
AMELIE, THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT, DELICATESSEN
When Jean-Pierre Jeunet made his debut (with co-director Marc Caro) in 1991 with the post-apocalyptic cannibalism fantasia Delicatessen, few associated the term “French filmmaker” with science fiction or fantasy. Sure, there were still a few black turtlenecks here and there, but Delicatessen and its follow-up, 1995’s The City of Lost Children, were a lot more Gilliam than Godard; the world Jeunet & Caro imagined was a grimy, cartoonish dystopia that was as much Steamboat Willie as steampunk. Striking out on his own in 2001, Jeunet made a tonal 180 with the urban fairytale Amelie, an effervescent charmer that immediately leapfrogged to the top of everyone’s girlfriend’s list of favorite movies ever. Jeunet continued to expand his palate with the World War I melodrama A Very Long Engagement and the arms trade satire Micmacs, demonstrating a continued commitment to off-kilter storytelling and odd atmospherics.
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