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Alexandre Fabbri

Maybe one shouldn't analysze too deeply..?

I have put some news about Audrey Tautou on my website diary today. Also, you can use the 'SEARCH' engine on my site with the search-word 'Amelie' for other bits of information that might interest you about the film.

Bonne journee,
Alexandre Fabbri
KIESLOWSKI'S WORLD

Christina

Hmm. I own the DVD and loved it when I saw it in the theater. I've watched it twice since, but not for like seven years. I'll watch it again soon and let you know.

Have you seen Two Lovers yet??

mernitman

Alexandre: I can't help it, I'm a compulsive analyzer. Thank you for the link - this looks like a great and useful site.

Thanks, Christina: I'm in a major work tunnel and waaaaay behind on my home-viewing, even struggling to get out to theaters, but TWO is in my queue (hopefully before it snows?!).

Michael Ross

I remember delighting in its whimsy (and to be honest in her)- and forgetting everything about it almost immediately afterward. Other than the fact that it looked gorgeous.

Kristen

I saw it for the first time about 4-5 months ago and was indifferent. I didn't eject it from the DVD player, so I guess there was something in there somewhere that I liked--though I'm not sure what it was. To me, Amelie was acting borderline mental-asylum-resident, so I wasn't sure why anyone would be interested in her romantically. At the same time, she's played by a gorgeous actress, so all the shyness and hiding from her love interest seemed dopey. I guess that's my one-word review of the film: "dopey."

JLM

I hated that movie with a righteous passion. That wasn't any Paris I know (and I think I do sort of know Paris); it was a Disneyland version, sans immigrants. Her big eyes buggged me, and the contrivance of it all struck me as hollow and forced.

Would you like to know how I really feel?

mernitman

Michael: Absolutely a widescreen eye feast, for color especially.

Kristen: Funny how gorgeousness trumps borderline-mental, eh? "Dopey" is great word (and my favorite dwarf).

JLM: Annnnnd the room keeps splitting...

Binniie

Having read your post I'd be somewhat nervous about revisiting the movie. I saw it in '01, in Paris, where I was working at the time, and thought it was such a treat. All hell broke out when I came back. My dad died (10 years ago today, actually), and just a few weeks later, 9/11. I think it would be hard to watch anything from 10 years ago with the same relatively innocent eyes...

Bill Wren

Amelie has been on my rewatch list for about 10 years and I've yet to make myself see it again. I know I didn't like it much when I first saw it. I looked at what I wrote about it 10 years or so ago and I was scratching my head over it because it's a kind of movie I usually like. I wondered if it might have been because it used a narrator quite a bit and, being in French, meant a lot of subtitles to read, distracting from the visual story.

One day I will get around to seeing it again and hopefully either like it or figure out what it is I didn't like. (Most people I know loved it.)

Isobel

I did NOT like it when I first watched it, ten years ago. I found it boring and I couldn't relate to it at all. When I was.... thirteen. Now, I just turned 24 and I watched it a few months ago. Now, basically the same age as Amelie, in a similar life- situation, I guess you could say, and now I LOVE it. I guess things just speak to you in different ways at different points in your life.

jamy

My first reaction to this movie was similar to your second. I liked the traveling gnome and that was about it. The level of whimsy was unsupported by real characters or story. I even had a big "fight" with a movie-going buddy of mine about this picture! (I think we were actually fighting about something else, but he seemed SHOCKED that I didn't like it as much as he did.) I haven't considered seeing it again but I wonder if I would end up on the positive side this time. Wouldn't that be perfect?

mernitman

Binnie: I hope it's not too sad a day for you (I can totally relate). And yeah, innocence lost is innocence... gone.

Bill: Yes, I noticed that immediately in this re-viewing - the narration is wall-to-wall! Evidently didn't stop many Americans from lapping it up, though...

Isobel: So true! But then, clearly (see other comments) some movies have such a strong specific effect on some people that no amount of life experience alters their perception.

Jamy: That would be perfect, in a rom-com sort of way. Actually, not a bad riff to use in a rom-com script. Hmmm...!

Ourdia

I thought it was a delightful movie when it came out. I bought the DVD and watched a couple of times since. The magic if anything deepened for me.

Amelie is like a breath of fresh air in this brutal world. Yes it portrays a very romanticized vision of Paris. And why not?

Don't we go to the movies precisely to escape reality for some 120 minutes plus? I do.

For me, Amelie is poesy in pictures.

Teddy

I liked this when it came out and I've seen it 3 or 4 times since. It gets better and better. Last time I saw it was 3 months ago just before I went to Paris and I loved it. Like Ourdia said, it's nice to escape reality and this film is perfect for that.

I had a similar reaction to that other Jeunet/Tautou picture A Very Long Engagement. I didn't like it much at all when I first saw it but the second time, also about 3 months ago, I loved it.

mernitman

Hello Ourdia: Good to hear something from the other side of the room. I think some go to the movies for pure escape, and some go for... other stuff as well, but at any rate, thanks for weighing in.

Welcome, Teddy: This notion of when one sees a movie, as an important factor of how one relates to it, intrigues me more and more (the where, and with whom, seems equally important). The lack of absolutes in appreciation of all things artistic is becoming the prevalent theme here...

Elizabeth Ditty

I wasn't quite the cinephile I am now when I first saw Amélie, so I was in the crowd that "didn't get it." As my appreciation of cinema deepened, as well as my longing to return to France (I turned 17 in Paris), I decided to revisit it and fell in love with it all over again. It's interesting that the life events you list as reasons the magic has lessened for you, Mr. Mernit, are some of the very reasons the magic has grown for me. Something about it gives me hope, I guess, and any movie that does that is a good film in my book. But maybe that's just the hopeless romantic misfit in me talking. :-)

Teddy

Thank you, Billy. I agree, it depends on where and how and with whom you experience something. Interestingly enough, I too have gone through a divorce and single life (no re-marriage yet) since I first saw Amélie. It seems time had the opposite effect for me since I like it more now than then.

Regarding the blind man scene, you're right, she's making an assumption that he would want this, but I don't think it's so she can feel good about herself, it's more of a compulsion with her to meddle in other people's affairs.

Viewed out of context like this it does feel rushed, but I didn't notice it while watching the film. I think it goes to Amélie's character. Her way of solving issues is to make others see something they haven't seen before and letting them make the decision what to do. She doesn't confront any problem head-on.

Everything is done in a roundabout way like messing with the grocer to teach him a lesson, or making her co-worker and the customer notice each other, or showing her dad that there's a whole world out there he should explore by having the garden gnome send him postcards, and all the while Amélie herself can't open up emotionally. She stays detached.

Here, in order to make the blind man “see” the things she felt he was missing, she has to tackle it head-on. She can't manipulate this situation like she did with everything else, and the only way for her to cope with this is to get through it as quickly as possible and then disappear without an explanation, staying anonymous.

Picture her doing this the rational way; asking if he'd be interested in a tour, leading him around slowly, letting him savour all the impressions, bidding him a proper adieu as she leaves – now that would have been out of character.

londonmabel

I loved it when it came out, and enjoyed it when I just rewatched it last week. I'll always enjoy silliness. (Though I felt the same way about the blind guy. I think it was just a bad scene.)

I don't know that anything's happened in a generalized 9-11 kinda way. My husband was watching it for the first time and he reacted to it the way people did back then (people who loved it.)

And if it does capture a pre-9-11 innocence (which I'm not sure it does, since it's a French movie, and that seems like a US centric view), that innocence must be what appealed to be precisely in the new 9-11 reality because that's when the movie was released. And the DVD's been prominent in stores ever since.

So I think your Personal thesis fits better.
;-)

Also there are a lot of "mysteries" and surprises in the movie, so I think at a minimum the movie might lose some magic after the first viewing, for that reason.

mernitman

Elizabeth, you hopeless romantic misfit, you: Turning 17 in Paris would do marvelous things to anyone's appreciation for the magical, I'd think.

Teddy: You're absolutely right about the scene being "in character," and I appreciate your thoughtful explication of how Amelie is written. I'm looking at it from the wrong end of the telescope, so to speak, i.e. out of the film's specific context, and hence the questions.

London Mabel: Yup, November 2011 release; I was positing "pre-9/11" as its POV, i.e. when the movie was made (and released in Europe, which was April of that year, I believe) but I'll happily concede the general point. Clearly my own myopic life experiences at work, here. Re: the mysteries, that's interesting, while funnily enough, it's those moments (e.g. the two clips posted before the Blind Man bit) that still work and resonate the most for me. I'm actually a sucker for cine-magic.

Judith Duncan

Hi Billy,
I agree that films can have a different affect(or effect?) depending on the time and circumstances in which they are seen and can change over time. However for me I looovveedddd Amelie the first time I saw it! I watch it on a regular basis,it's one of the films I run to when the world is being a little to harsh and I need somewhere to hide. The scene where she melts is such a delightful and truthful metaphor. I been there. I think the scene where she grabs the blind guy is not to rush him past things but more to take him from being alone on the sidelines and rush him INTO life,into the smells and sounds of everything around him. I may be wearing my rose colored glasses with that film but hey,it floats my boat. Cheers,
Judith

mernitman

Judith: It's a big boat with plenty of fellow passengers, if you read the comments above.

Joanna Farnsworth

Billy, you're BACK!

I'm so glad to find you back on the blog that I can't think of a single thing to say about Amelie.

Lost for words.

That's how much we missed you.

mernitman

Aw, Joanna! Great to hear from you. Looking forward to when you find your words again ;->

theoncominghope

I really loved it the first time I saw it, but then I fell asleep in the middle everytime I tried to watch it again!

Have you seen Jeux D'Enfants? It was a bit hit among my college crowd, as the dark version of Amelie (very dark). It's what originally made Marion Cotillard a star.

mernitman

OnComing: Not familiar with "Jeux," and you've piqued my curiosity...

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