Jeunet. Jeunet isn’t here without Amelie (less and less top 500 all-time films remaining as we’re at the #158th best director of all-time) but that 1-4 below is very solid. The films are imaginative, handsomely shot, and idiosyncratic in all the best ways. Just one film in the top 100 of its respective decade isn’t great – but even the least of Jeunet’s efforts carry his own brand of authorship. Jeunet has only made a total of 7 films and nothing in the archives since 2004—still clearly a force from 1991 to 20001.
Best film: Amelie. Jeunet’s zenith for sure- it brings the French New Wave back to life (especially Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player). Amelie is an aesthetic atom bomb, jump cuts, split screens, exaggerate—playful sound design and all the while many of the frame are composed like a Wes Anderson film.
total archiveable films: 4
top 100 films: 0
top 500 films: 1 (Amelie)
top 100 films of the decade: 1 (Amelie)
most overrated: No overrated films for Jeunet. He has one film on the TSPDT consensus top 1000—Amelie and it’s at a good spot at #529. I’m slightly higher on it but this is a 21st century film so for something so recent that’s a very strong spot. Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children are between 1001-2000 on the TSPDT extended list and that’s a decent spot for them.
most underrated: See above- nothing—but the screen grabs of A Very Long Engagement here make me anxious to revisit it- I haven’t had the pleasure since a theater visit in 2005 I believe.
gem I want to spotlight : Delicatessen. A debut with a wallop—such a distinctive voice to emerge from France in the early 1990’s. I may mention a half-dozen auteurs that influenced Jeunet or share traits with him as an artist below – but he’s a true original.
- Certainly an expressionist— he’s an illustrator– mise-en-scene and set design. You can see Gilliam in his work with some of the retro garbage art, Meiles, Murnau’s set detail—Tati, Tim Burton, Baz Luhrmann— I see some Wes Anderson—crisp symmetrical compositions, color and very heavily designed mise-en-scene (Jeunet predates Wes of course but with Amelie they’re contemporaries) and then of course Truffaut’s playfulness—Amelie feels like Shoot the Piano Player in a different genre.
- The green/yellow tint to all of his work—a little Fincher—lighter of course but still. Both directed Alien films in the 1990’s
- Fairytales in the narrative
- Jeunet loves his low Wellesian angles. He loves his spiral staircases
- The City of Lost Children
- A Very Long Engagement
By year and grades
|1995- The City of Lost Children||HR|
|2004- A Very Long Engagement||R|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives
He has a new film coming out in a month on Netflix, Bigbug. For better or worse it’s clearly a Jeunet film.