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Book Title: Amélie: Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain|
The author of the book: Isabelle Vanderschelden
ISBN 13: 9780252074707
Edition: University of Illinois Press
Date of issue: April 9th 2007
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.66 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.9
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Two guys Jeunet and Carot made Delicatessen in 1991 which is an all time favourite of mine, then followed it up with The City of Lost Children four years later. Hard to believe, this second film is much weirder and much better, one of my top ten movies. (Not many other people liked it but I don’t care. Maybe they just made it for me. I think it gave people the creeps. It gave me the creeps but I like that kind of creeps.) So Jeunet and Caro had by now typed themselves as steampunk surrealists. Then Caro left to do something else and Jeunet’s next movie was the bad Alien film Alien : Resurrection. Yeah, he sold out to Hollywood, and it didn’t work out. But hey, with a big paycheck he could do what he wanted to do now, which was Amelie. And now you could see that Caro was the Lennon and Jeunet the McCartney.
As you no doubt know, Amelie is cutesy, fey, whimsical, a romantic comedy with no possible relation to real life, all goldenhued and cloying, which rhymes with annoying, and I expect has made more than a few people thwow up into their handbags. “A big fat dollop of saccharine fairy floss” says tombur1 on IMDB. “By the end of the movie you just want to reach into the screen and choke her” says AmomyBP. I see what they mean. The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye. Jeunet deliberately removed all the graffiti and litter from his exteriors by digital means. The more I think about this movie the sillier it is, but when I watch it that’s a different thing. So am I really saying that Ram is nearly as good as Abbey Road ? If there is a guilty movie pleasure this is it. (Leaving aside Italian nunsploitation movies, of course. We don’t want to talk about those. )
(Amelie unwittingly phones a sex shop to speak to one of their assistants but they mistake the nature of the call.)
It’s true my movie taste is all over the place. What? You dare to admit to hating The Green Mile AND The Shawshank Redemption AND Vertigo ?? Yes, that’s me. So are you one of those guys who only like Battleship Potemkin and Last year at Marienbad? No, I hate those too. What kind of monster are you??
(This is Amelie criticising old movies for not being realistic - she's got some nerve)
All right, so what we got – cute shy loner girl meets cute shy loner boy in a manner that redefined the words convoluted and contrived. At the end – oh, spoiler! – they chug off into the Montmartrian sunset, literally, on a white Lambretta. Laughing.
I can’t deny that – but I would say that a large amount of the movie is taken up with Amelie trying to fix other people’s problems (thus avoiding fixing her own). She does this by stealth and in so doing reveals herself to have psychopathic tendencies – she has no qualms in breaking into neighbours’ apartments and stealing stuff; once she conceives of an idea of improve someone’s life all normal rules of behaviour go out the window. Underneath the fairydust is a borderline-deranged passive aggressive type. The fairydust is mixed with ground glass.
YANN TIERSEN’S SOUNDTRACK
In keeping with the retro visual style is the lush accordion waltz soundtrack by this composer who was a new name to me. The soundtrack album is great. Any fans of Gus Viseur or Tony Murena will lap this stuff up.
There have been three more films – A Very Long Engagement which bored me to death, Micmacs which is brilliant and The Young and Prodigious T S Spivet which is everything Amelie-haters say about Amelie – avoid, avoid.
Alas, we have the usual film studies lecturerspeak here. It’s crammed with banal clunkers such as :
The nostalgic appropriation of Paris in Amelie has enchanted, concerned or angered the viewers, and become one of the most critically discussed elements of the film. However, by recycling and stimulating the collective memories fed by many past pictorial and cinematic sources, and by bringing his own personal imagery of the city, Jeunet has successfully created an enticing postmodern cityscape, which contributed to the success of the film, and is part and parcel of his aesthetic signature.
I mean, who needs sentences like that in their life. Not you, not me.
Two star book, five star movie.
(I feel like that occasionally but then I lie down until the feeling passes.)
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