Sunday, November 24, 2013

829. DELICATESSEN (1991)

Running Time: 99 minutes
Directed By: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro
Written By: Gilles Adrien, Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Main Cast: Dominique Pinon, Marie-Laure Dougnac, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Karin Viard, Ticky Holgado
Click here to view the trailer

NOTES: A very big thank you to Brigitte Badeau, of I Blame Movies for giving me the Sunshine Award. Please take a moment to check out the great work Brigitte is doing with her own blog and again, thank you Brigitte. I promise to participate in the awards questionnaire ASAP. I also wanted to give a quick shout out to a newly acquired commenter named Dave. I promised to link to his Letterboxd profile, so here ya go: Seriously, if they'd had these Letterboxd things when I was first starting this blog, I think I'd have gone that route; looks like a pretty cool, little home base. Anyway, check both of those people out, because they deserve it and because I said so! Now then...


This is one that I've been looking forward to for quite sometime, although I will admit I started this one YEARS ago, only to shut it off at about the thirty minute mark. Still, I knew my tastes had changed drastically, knew I loved Jean-Pierre Jeunet's other BOOK movie, "Amelie" and the plot sounded like something right up my alley.

The film tells of Louison (Pinon), a former clown performer who's partner on the stage, a monkey, died and is now in need of work. Louison answers an ad in the paper for a maintenance man at a delicatessen, which also happens to sit under an apartment building, owned by the butcher (Dreyfus). However, it turns out that the "want ad" was only a means of luring an unsuspecting person to the deli, so that they can be used as the next meat platter. Yes, that's right - the meat that the butcher/landlord is using is human meat and in a post-apocalyptic France, where food is in short supply, people are sinking their teeth into their brethren. Meanwhile, Louison falls for the butcher's daughter, Julie (Dougnac), a "blind as a bat", cello player who is both cute & sweet and most of all, wants no harm to come to her new love interest. The rest of the of the apartment building is filled with colorful characters, from a suicidal woman who hears voices, to a basement dweller who surrounds himself with frogs.

Hate to say it, but this was a HUGE disappointment! I know, I know, but I just couldn't ease into it. It was like bath water that was WAY too hot - no matter how many times I tried to sit my ass on the floor of the tub, I just couldn't help but raise up in unease. I wanted so badly to like it and trust me, I TRIED to like it and ultimately, I certainly didn't hate it, by any means, but I was expecting great things from this and it didn't pan out that way. It seemed like everything existed no in a post-apocalyptic world, but rather a loony toons world and no harm was going to come to anyone, because the guns were plastic, the knives weren't sharp and the bombs that DID explode were only going to leave you coughing up soot. It was such a phony, hokey world and while I Jeunet and Caro all the credit in the world for their inventiveness, I would've liked a little bit more seriousness. It seemed to me that the film relied more on a few, carefully choreographed gags and less on fleshing out the plot.

Speaking of the plot, it just seemed like we were meant to do a lot of guess work. It wasn't made clear right away that the butcher indeed wanted to hack Louison and the relationship between Julie and Louison just seemed to come out of nowhere - one minute their strangers, the next minute their in the throes of love. Even THE BOOK notes that Clapet wanted to kill Louison ONLY because he fell in love with Julie, while I was under the impression that Clapet wanted to kill Louison because the sole purpose of posting the want ad, was to get some fresh meat and that it had nothing to do with the romance between Louison and his daughter.

RATING: 6/10  The film LOOKED like a million dollars, but would only spend so far before a cashier drew on it with her special pen and deemed it counterfeit.


November 24, 2013  8:36pm


  1. I am really surprised you didn't like this much. I saw this without knowing a thing about it and enjoyed it a lot. I thought of it as a "darker Amelie" and thought it would be something that you'd be into. Maybe this says more about the power of expectations. I don't know how many times I've gone into a film with outstanding reviews or hype from my friends and come out feeling disappointed I didn't like it more. (Lincoln was the most recent example for me.) I've also had the opposite happen where a movie wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. That's why I like it when I know as little as possible about a movie before I watch it.
    On a side note... I wouldn't put too much faith in the details of the reviews in the Book. It's been too long for me since I've seen Delicatessen for me to say whether Clapet wanted to kill Louison before or after he fell in love with Julie, but I know I've come across several instances when I had just finished a movie and went to the book and found that the review had several major details about the plot wrong. It felt like it had been years since the the reviewer actually saw the movie he/she was writing about.

    1. Yes, I've noticed that about THE BOOK as well, many times. The only reason I brought it up here, was because it did seem that even the filmmakers were welching a little bit on giving us the true reasons for Clapet's reasons to kill Louison.

      And yes, perhaps my expectations ruined this for me. Very possible.

  2. I really enjoyed this.. I was recommended to go and see it at the Cinema when it came out, and loved it's rather.. unusual.. premise. Yes, you try explaining to someone that.. "well, it is set in some dystopian future after an unknown apocalyptic event, and there is an apartment block where all the residents survive by eating new tenants.. And Oh yes, there are a bunch of incompetent revolutionary vegetarians who live in the sewers.. and .. Oh, didn't I say.. it's a comedy'
    A decided favourite from well before 'The Book'.

    1. Yes, I'll agree it's quite odd and I like that element. But I was ultimately underwhelmed.

  3. Sorry.. totally Off Topic... But i don't do twitter (not even fully sure what it is), but I just saw your twitter entry.
    They have killed off Brian? What? I think I will stop watching.. by far the most likable person there...

    1. I want to talk about this more in the monthly recap, but yes, they did kill Brian off on last night's episode and he was replaced by a dog named Vinnie - cliche Italian, mobster voice.

      Ps...Glad to know you're reading my Twitter entries. Twitter is just like an online status update, that you can post random thoughts to. I enjoy it...

    2. This is starting to sound like a ganging up, but I agree with William (Hello again, great to see you seem to be becoming a regular..)
      This is, (to me) much better than the rather syrupy Amelie... much grittier, darker...
      Sorry Andrew. Don't worry, we will wait 'till Amanda has to do her next Bergman, and we will stand together to defend it..)

    3. No worries. A respectful "ganging up" nonetheless.


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