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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
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Vastly inventive comedy Feb. 20 2003
Format:VHS Tape
For the most part people who watch Delicatessen will be those looking back into the back catelogue of Amelie director Jeunet. His first work is set in a post-apocalyptic world without meat where the inhabitants of a small appartment block are sustained by the local butcher who chops up new guests and doles them out. This seems to be the plan for newcomer Pinon, but once he falls in love with the butcher's daughter the couple decide a life with an underground organisation of vegetarians would be a more fulfilling lifestyle and plan to leave.
Visually this is a real treat, and the close-ups of characters' expressions as well as the wonderful set of character idiosyncracies that are evoked are all very reminiscent of Amelie. In particular the woman who constantly attempts suicide in overly elaborate situations but always manages to get it wrong somehow is fantastic fun, and the mannered performances from all concerned suit the tone of the piece perfectly. The idea itself is also enjoyably off-kilter, enough so to rightfully earn it a cult audience.
So why only three stars when there's so much that's right with the movie? Well, as it stands Delicatessen is a vastly inventive movie (certainly more than most) and there are a great deal of incidental things to enjoy (a boomerang fighting weapon, a room flooded by frogs and a disastrous first date) that are mostly based on the kind of situation comedy that Jeunet is so good at. However, it's not as accessible as Amelie and whilst it stands as a stunningly original genre piece there's little story thread despite the nicely performed fairytale romance between the leads. Most likely you'll appreciate Delicatessen for its originality but its concept and visuals aside, this just isn't as good as the bowl-you-over spectacular Amelie, although it's definitely worth seeking out for fans of the director or for fans of oddball movie-making.
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Format:VHS Tape
In a post-apocalyptic France, the survivors of a decrepit tenement building are clinging on to what's left of life. Corn is used as currency, only people with connections can get good food or luxury items. Some people, like the sexy Ms. Plusse, can have her food put on her bill. To which another woman says caustically "we know where she keeps her bill." And if someone can't pay the rent, they might have to give up one of their family members to the piggish ogre of a butcher and landlord, who slices them into cutlets to sell.
Enter Louison, an ex-circus artist, who takes on a job as a handyman. He makes a difference to certain people, especially the butcher's meek, nearsighted daughter Julie, and to two young children, who are awestruck at soap bubbles and a handy boomerang knife, dubbed the Australian. He used to be a clown in a double act, "Stan and Livingstone", where he was Stan. His partner vanished, presumably dead and eaten, and he seems next in line to be eaten, just like the last handyman.
There are many weird tenants. There's Aurore, a woman who hears voices in her heads urging her to commit suicide. The way she organizes them is amusing. A pair of toymakers make boxes that go "moo!" There's a down-and-out man who lives with his wife, mother-in-law, and children, and Ms. Plusse, who watches old movies on TV when she isn't paying her bill to the butcher. A man lives in a flooded room, raising frogs and snails for food. In one scene, he speaks to an escargot before eating it, "Hercule, it's every man for himself." He tosses the shell, where it lands on a mountain of snail shells.
One funny sequence involves a symphony of sounds, all done in sync in one-two time. There's the butcher "accepting payment of his bill" from Ms.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, and well done
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.
Published 14 months ago by E.G
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Quirky
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. Read more
Published on May 29 2011 by Brenda Lucas
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!
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... Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2007 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark post-apocalyptic cannibal comedy with hope...
In a not so distant future the apocalypse has stricken earth with its full force and famine is driving people to commit macabre acts. Read more
Published on March 31 2004 by Kim Anehall
5.0 out of 5 stars At Film's End One Wonders...
...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?
... Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2004 by yygsgsdrassil
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 29 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. 20 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
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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