Review: ‘Delicatessen’

Beautifully textured, cleverly scripted and eerily shot (often with a wideangle lens making characters look even weirder), Delicatessan is a zany little film that's a startling and clever debut for co-helmers Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro.

Beautifully textured, cleverly scripted and eerily shot (often with a wideangle lens making characters look even weirder), Delicatessan is a zany little film that’s a startling and clever debut for co-helmers Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro.

In a darkly bizarre, futuristic world where food shortages have led the butcher to serve up human flesh after murdering the locals, a bumbling group of Troglodins, an underground force reminiscent of the government police in Brazil, are engaged in a war on cannibal crime.

An excellent cast made up entirely of character actors provides a rich array of eccentrics who live in the building over the deli and the sewers used as tunnels by the Troglodins.

An unsuspecting comedian moves into the flat above the deli and falls in love with neighboring blind girl, who organizes a hilarious tea party for two. Pic then quickly hooks viewers with an outrageous montage of rythmically edited visuals initiated by a sex scene between the butcher and his lover shot from under the bed.

All other wacko characters are well-defined and carefully developed, including the armed postman who holds up people when delivering the mail and the snail eater whose flat is two inches deep in water and escargot shells.

Delicatessen

France

Production

Constellation/UGC/Hachette Premiere. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro; Producer Claudie Ossard; Screenplay Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro, Gilles Adrien; Camera Darius Khondji; Editor Herve Schneid; Music Carlos D'Alessio; Art Director Jean-Philippe Carp, Kreka, Aline Bonetto, Jean Rabasse

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1991. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Dominique Pinon Marie-Laure Dougnac Jean-Claude Dreyfus Rufus Ticky Holgado Anne-Marie Pisani

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