Delicatessen …in all it’s strangeness.


When French avante-garde surrealism meets the plot of Sweeney Todd– minus everything but the meat pies–and is seasoned with random comical scenes of attempted suicide and weird amphibeon people, you get the film Delicatessen. This quirky story directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a Post-apocalyptic surrealist black comedy about the landlord of an apartment building who on occasion decides to brutally murder his hired assistants with a butcher knife in order to eat or sell their flesh– nothing out of the norm. Apparently food has become so rare after the attack on earth by Cylons or the invasion by a giant mechanical robot dubbed Mecha-Streisand (or whatever the heck happened to bring about the apocolypse and condone the comsumption of human flesh) that food has actually become a currency. Basically people pay for things with bags of corn or split peas…or human flesh. The film’s protagonist is played by none other than Dominique Pinon, who you may know as “that one overly jealous cafe guy with the weird face” from Amelie (2001). Pinon does a great job with his role and is able to create a sweetly awkward little romance between himself and his love interest, the daughter of the butcher played by Marie-Laure Dougnac. Though there are definitely some entertaining scenes in this film, the plot is too loosely constructed to produce anything other than a passing attempt at originality and oddity.The actions of each of the characters aren’t really justified or explored through the script and half the time you don’t really know why people are acting the way they do. Not to sound cliche but “What’s their motivition?” For instance, one of the characters hear’s voices that tell her to kill herself. We learn later, after several suicide attempts, that the woman is not insane but that one of her neighbors has been whispering into a pipe that leads to her apartment–and telling her to kill herself. No explanation for why the neighbor is tormenting this poor woman via whispering through a pipe is given. Apparently, after an apocolypse everyone just becomes a huge A-hole. Despite the plot holes this Film is still interesting to digest and has moments of quirky creativity that you and your friends can joke about or stare in unified drooling confusion at. Plus, you can add Delicatessen to the list of film names you can drop when you attend your next Post-apocalyptic French surrealist black comedy parties…. that have been all the rage. For those of you who don’t watch this, watch Amelie, but for those of you who do, Bon Appetit!

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