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Review of the Film "Delicatessen" – French Post Apocalyptic Black Comedy

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In a starving post apocalyptic future’s society, where food has mostly run out and dried grains have become the current currency, the former circus clown, Stan Louison (Dominique Pinon), is hired by the Delicatessen’s butcher and landlord, Clapet (Jean-Claude Dreyfus), to serve as a handyman in his apartments block. But little he knows, in his delight for his new job, that rather for his domestic ability (lacks) he is being hired for his body meat to end up in the dining table of his new and cannibalist neighbours, as his predecessors had. Soon enough, Lousion finds himself falling in love with Clapet’s only-daughter, Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac), that will try to change his fate and save him from her father’s knife through making a pact and betraying her family with the mole (dried grain lovers) revolutionaries living under the building to kidnap her lover, whilst the other tenant´s hunger and bestiality grows bigger and bigger as days without meat go by.

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Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, are the masterminds behind this french comedy, that met the big screen in 1999, which grotesque stylistic features are usually compared with the Hollywood’s gothic director Tim Burton’s. Yet, the directors differ greatly, Jeunet and Caro denunce the terrible horrors and hypochrasis that human beings are capable of through their characters that sometimes seem to be viciously regarded as mere additions to the scenography, and cared for as such, being created just to match their perfectly planned apartment color palette rather than to complete a certain task or cycle in the story. All the more, they come to an end of accomplishing nothing more than a fragile calmness after the encounter with their antagonists but without having solved the problem itself, which gives the watcher a extrenge feeling of and and perpetuate the sense of a doll house rather than of a movie.

Through the movie’s one hundred minutes runtime, the joyful innocence of the protagonist, and his childish relationship with his lover, antagonize not only all the inhabitants of the apartment block but the whole world as such, and create an inversely proportional correlation between the humanity of the couple and the bestiality of the world. Although the movie does not tell anything to any exterior war that might have happened, any crisis, natural disaster or any other catastrophe, the apartment building works as a mirror of the world outside of it. Resembling the Spanish Civil War, the neighbours divide themselves and take sides in the matter, whether eating human flesh or not, whether killing their neighbour or not, and fight each other leaving the former feeling towards the adversiries behind, it is this fight, brother fighting brother, the cruelness and lack of forgiveness, what traces similarities with the Spanish casualties of the 20th century. Nevertheless, it’s still a comedy and the directors fail to forget about it, with its lie-detectors machines, the old man breeding frogs and snails in his flooded apartment, the ridiculous failed attempts of suicide of Silvie, the melancholic music of Louison’s handsaw, the mole revolutionaries living underground the building block…Jeunet and Caro mix the absurdist plot twists, the extravagant imagery, with a sharp satire sense of humor, that may no appeal all watchers.

This masterpiece is a must-seen for every movie lover, although the main plot may be regarded as sanguinary and terrorific, and may displease those weak of stomach, it’s not a horror movie and is far away from being one. Although is not a kid friendly movie, with several attempts of suicide, rhythmical sexual intercourses, cannibalism and bestiality, and it should not be forgotten that the first scene of the film portrays a quite sanguinary murder, it’s a great entertainment for those into satire comedies who will be delighted by the obvious technical virtuosity and wicked sense of humor of the movie.

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