Friday, May 28, 2010

Movie with Abe: Micmacs

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Released May 28, 2010

Before the advent of cinema, the greatest tales told could be animated and enriched by a skilled oral storyteller. Now, movies can be enhanced by visual effects and sharp editing, but there’s much more to truly good filmmaking than that. One director who delights in bringing his characters to life and weaving a fanciful, memorable story is Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The creative mind behind the marvelous “Amelie” and “A Very Long Engagement” returns to deliver his first film in six years, minus his leading lady, Audrey Tautou, but instilled with the same energy, heart, and sense of wonder.

Actor Dany Boon stars as Bazil

Jeunet has his actors he likes to work with – he cites regular player Dominique Pinon, who has appeared in all of his feature films, as his favorite actor – but he’s not against welcoming in new performers to his troupe. Actor Dany Boon almost seems like he was born to play the lead in a Jeunet film, starring here as Bazil, a man who sets out to exact revenge against the men whose companies manufactured the mine that killed his father and the bullet that got lodged in his brain. This isn’t your typical revenge flick, however, since Bazil and his crew of hard-working, dedicated tinkers are just about the sweetest people you’ll ever encounter. They’re so wonderful, in fact, that the matriarch of this makeshift family demands that Bazil ask for their help once they catch on to Bazil’s plan, determined to assist him in his efforts.

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet discusses the film

The fantastical “Micmacs” is littered with a fun and endearing cast led by Boon. André Dussolier and Nicolas Marié star as the two money-grubbing heads of the companies whose weapons have caused Bazil distress in his life, and they both combine greedy fury with the perfect comic sensibility for this kind of story. Jean-Pierre Marielle, Yolande Moreau, Julie Ferrier, Omar Sy, Michel Crémadès, Marie-Julie Baup, and Pinon play the merry members of Bazil’s bunch, and they’re all magnificent. Jeunet discusses how each time he makes a film he tries to find a “family of interesting faces and characters, to open up a box of details and a band of silly people.” What really stands out in this film, like in Jeunet’s other works, is the detail and color with which every scene is created. The characters and backgrounds pop out, and it’s simply a mesmerizing visual experience. Jeunet says he has shot everything he loves in Paris, and says to fans, “if you like my film, welcome!” He talks about loving when a director’s style is recognizable, like that of Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Stanley Kubrick, or Federico Fellini. Interestingly enough, Jeunet possesses probably the most distinct of styles, and he’s not against utilizing changing technology to further his creativity. If it had been possible, Jeunet would have loved to shoot his latest work in 3-D. While Jeunet may not produce another film for half a decade, but judging from how fantastic this one is, it’s certainly worth the wait.


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