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Delicatessen (With English Subtitles) [Import]

Marie-Laure Dougnac , Dominique Pinon , Jean-Pierre Jeunet , Marc Caro    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Product Description

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The title credit for Delicatessen reads "Presented by Terry Gilliam," and it's easy to understand why the director of Brazil was so supportive of this outrageously black French comedy from 1991. Like Gilliam, French codirectors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro have wildly inventive imaginations that gravitate to the darker absurdities of human behavior, and their visual extravagance is matched by impressive technical skill. Here, making their feature debut, Jeunet and Caro present a postapocalyptic scenario set entirely in a dank and gloomy building where the landlord operates a delicatessen on the ground floor. But this is an altogether meatless world, so the butcher-landlord keeps his customers happy by chopping unsuspecting victims into cutlets, and he's sharpening his knife for a new tenant (French comic actor Dominque Pinon) who's got the hots for the butcher's nearsighted daughter! Delicatessen is a feast (if you will) of hilarious vignettes, slapstick gags, and sweetly eccentric characters, including a man in a swampy room full of frogs, a woman doggedly determined to commit suicide (she never gets its right), and a pair of brothers who make toy sound boxes that "moo" like cows. It doesn't amount to much as a story, but that hardly matters; this is the kind of comedy that springs from a unique wellspring of imagination and inspiration, and it's handled with such visual virtuosity that you can't help but be mesmerized. There's some priceless comedy happening here, some of which is so inventive that you may feel the urge to stand up and cheer. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, and well done June 7 2013
By E.G
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie seems reminiscent of something Johnny Depp might do...but in an Amelie type of movie. it's weird and quirky and entertaining throughout.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious! Feb. 23 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
You probably know him best for "Amelie" and "A Very Long Engagement," but Jean-Pierre Jeunet did an entirely different kind of comedy in "Delicatessen," a wicked black comedy that deals with... um, cannibalism. It's a twisted, dark story populated by the oddest characters that the writer could possibly have imagined -- and man, is it funny.

It's the postapocalyptic future, where food is so scarce that grain is used as money, and meat is completely gone. The setting is an apartment building run by a local butcher (Jean-Claude Dreyfus), who feeds his tenants in an unusual way: he hires assistants, then turns them into tomorrow's din-din. His newest assistant is the gentle vegetarian ex-clown Louison (Dominic Pinon).

But the butcher's plans get thrown for a loop when his cello-playing daughter Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac) falls for Stanley and (unsurprisingly) wants to save her love from a fate worse than entrees. So she contacts the vegetarian resistance, the Troglodytes, and tricks them into invading her father's house, on the night when he plans to slaughter Louison.

Okay, let's get this straight: cannibalism is not funny. But comedies about cannibalism CAN be very funny, if done well. And "Delicatessen" manages to be a funny comedy in the tradition of Terry Gilliam, with the warped direction, surreal direction and strange settings. What was later precious in "Amelie" is weirdly ominous here... not that that's a bad thing.

It's also a challenge to create such a dark, bleak setting and somehow inject offbeat comedy into it. For example, one sex scene is juxtaposed against various activities (carpet beating, cello playing) -- all in the same rhythm. It's a moment of pure comic skill.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Quirky May 29 2011
Format:DVD
I heard about this movie when a filmographer who was a contestant on Jeopardy declared that it was his favorite film. I had to check it out and I'm not sorry that I did. It is weird and funny and made in a way that the French are so good at. It won't be everybody's cup of tea but if you like quirky, off the wall characters and a story line that is beyond belief, then this movie is for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars STUNNED... April 16 2004
By Esn024
Format:VHS Tape
That was my impression after watching through this very strange movie.
I had started watching it expecting a "weird French film", and that was indeed what I got at first. I couldn't believe the atmosphere that the directors had created in this film, though I imagine it might have been somewhat familiar to some Francophones living in the destruction after WW2. The introductory sequence to this film is MASTERFULLY shot, and it raised my expectations quite a bit.
Unfortunately, the same level of energy didn't seem to last when the movie really started. The atmosphere was fantastic, yes, and the inventions that were made in this movie (a MUSICAL SAW?) were totally unique. However, no amount of weird atmosphere can amend a movie if the story and characters aren't up to the job. In fact, it's a lot harder to create good characters & plot for a movie like this, because the movie has to make sense within its own unique world and yet make us the viewers feel like something REAL is at stake.
For a while, it seemed like Delicatessen was only as deep as its cover; scenes whose only purpose seemed to be to show the inventions of the movie dragged on too long, and the various conversations that the tenants of the apartment building had (I'm assuming you know the general story here) seemed to have no meaning. The Troglodytes that came in about 1/2-way through also didn't quite seem to fit in.
However, by the end of the movie all was justified. I realized just what an enormous task the movie had done; this is not a story of just the two main characters, but a story of at about a dozen tenants of the apartment building. By the end of the movie, each tenant of the apartment building was portrayed as a unique individual, and each had their own story.
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Format:VHS Tape
In a not so distant future the apocalypse has stricken earth with its full force and famine is driving people to commit macabre acts. In this world a clown arrives to a small French apartment building where he is applying for a job as a building engineer and in return he gets a free apartment. However, tenants of the building have a dark secret which they intend to keep from the clown as they all anticipate the moment when they will enjoy his fresh meat. The question is whether the circus performer has some tricks in his bag that can help him survive. Despite the gruesome plot of Delicatessen, the film offers warm and sensitive drama as well as hysterical comedy that will mesmerize the audience as the story unfolds. The performance of the cast and the cinematography enhances the comical situations as well as the ingenious story that deals with love, perseverance, hope, and much more, which in the end presents a brilliant cinematic experience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars At Film's End One Wonders... Jan. 5 2004
Format:VHS Tape
...what will the meat addicts do to supply their craving?
...where will all those Moo toys go?
...is Livingston a good monniker for a monkey?
...wottop with the dude in the watery room?
And finally,
...how much corn does it take to hire a terrorist?
Good movie.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars my two knuckles worth
i firmly agree with the majority of the other reviewers who loved this film. i first saw it in '93 or '94 on a cable network. it was pretty much my introduction to foreign films. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2003 by T. Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dream Your Corpse
A champion in the long line of european flicks orbiting cannibalism. Delicatessen is hilarious, but sometimes a bore, a lovely bore, but a bore. Read more
Published on Sept. 21 2003 by fat_runner
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Lunacy
Beautiful cinematography, excellent set design, and wildly vivid characters are just a few of the well planned and beautifully executed details in this comically bizarre film. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2003 by Thomas Saaristo
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Twisted Fun
Beautiful cinematography and excellent set design are just a few of the well planned and beutifully executed details of this bizarre film. Read more
Published on March 18 2003 by P. Fox
3.0 out of 5 stars Vastly inventive comedy
For the most part people who watch Delicatessen will be those looking back into the back catelogue of Amelie director Jeunet. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2003 by Mr. B. G. Fowler
4.0 out of 5 stars Gloomy but off-beat look at post-apocalyptic France
In a post-apocalyptic France, the survivors of a decrepit tenement building are clinging on to what's left of life. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2003 by Daniel J. Hamlow
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh you silly French types
Any movie about French cannibals that involves a wild throwing blade named "The Australian" has to be good. Don't you think? Love it love it love it. Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2002 by Bubba Fett
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