‘Amelie’ smiles on L.A.

Pic praised for magical realism, French heart

At Tuesday’s Academy preem for French helmer Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie,” comments included Miramax’s Mark Gill praising the pic’s “spellbinding magical realism”; Howard Hesseman saying the film “has such a French heart”; and Taylor Negron saying “it’s the first deconstructive DaDa romance of the century.”

However, the best line came from the linguistically adept wag who said the film “has a certain Jean-Pierre Jeunet-sais quoi.”

For himself, Jeunet said, “On one hand, the film is very French, on the other it’s not. I don’t like nouvelle vague, it’s not my cup of tea. If the French cinema is very strong this year, it’s because a new generation is trying to make a new kind of movie.”

“We wanted to get a smile,” said the helmer. “That was the concept.”

Among those smiling were star Audrey Tautou; guests Karl Austen, Simon Barry, Jacqueline Bisset, Jan De Bont, Julie Delpy, Rebecca De Mornay, Lindsay Doran, Cuba Gooding Jr., Ben Kingsley, Nastassja Kinski, Jeff Kleeman, Tobey Maguire with Kirsten Dunst, Fonda Snyder, Mira Sorvino and James Woods.

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