Movie Title: La cité des enfants perdus / The City of Lost Children
Date Released: May 1995 – Cannes Film Festival
Date Seen: June 20th, 2014
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
This was a movie that showed up on Netflix and the poster caught my eye – I watched the trailer and knew I had to watch this movie, if only for how cool stylistically it looked. It ended up having an interesting, mind fucking plot, with some incredible acting, especially from the children. The movie is sort of sci-fi, sort of fantasy, sort of not entirely sure what genre it wants to be, but it works. There is a man, Krank (Daniel Emilfork) who cannot dream. He kidnaps children to steal their dreams. He kidnaps One (Ron Perlman)’s little brother, who then goes on a hunt to find his little brother. He is joined by a young orphan girl in the city to help him find the City of Lost Children.
Stylistically, this movie is beautiful. The sets are incredible, and the coloring is very interesting and odd which gives the whole movie a dreamlike feel. I read that they did this coloring by making up the actors in white face and editing the color balance until they were flesh toned again. The sets and small details were very cool too. Some of the details feel very steampunk, with lots of gears, pulleys, exposed parts. The most interesting, I thought, are these characters that have these gears on their eyes that also seem to connect to their ears, allowing them to see and hear in a very magnified way. They were very cool. The sets are also just super detailed if you ever just pause and look around.
The acting was also great. I do not know French – at all – but Ron Perlman’s French didn’t seem to completely horrible. He also was awesome as expected. Judith Vittet, who played Miette, was amazing. I’m only disappointed in that she hasn’t appeared in many more things (acting wise). Apparently now she is a costumer for some french TV shows. She was a great actress in this, however. The other little boy we see the most, Little Brother, was just adorable for a character trait he had – eating everything in sight. I also really enjoyed Dominique Pinon as the clones. Despite them all being “the exact same” he seemed to give them slightly different personalities or habits that I enjoyed watching.
All in all this was a very good hidden gem that I hadn’t heard about. I will be recommending this movie to people, and it’s one that if you like sort of weird things, sci-fi or fantasy based, or exceptionally well done sets/details, then this movie is for you.
Part 2 – Spoiler Stuff
I somehow missed that the sisters were actually conjoined twins. I mean, I got that impression due to their proximity, but since they’re joined at the leg, I never noticed it. I think also, it got lost in translation that they are called “The Octopus”. 4 arms, 2 legs, 2 heads I’m guessing? Again though, you never see their legs so it’s not too hard to miss. However, the two actresses playing them did some very cool “conjoined” movements. There were the obvious things like when one would inhale the cigarette and the other would exhale it (yeah right like that works). But then there were very cool details, like when they were cooking dinner. It was things like one sister will hold the potato and the other cuts it, or one will hold the pepper while the other grinds it. If you actually watch their hands and arms during that scene, it is pretty trippy.
One of my favorite scenes, despite also being pretty sad, was the Rube Goldberg chain of events while One was attacking Miette. I hated the actual attack, but the chain of events that resulted in the stopping of the attack were really cool.
A thought I had multiple times in the movie is that Miette is oddly trusting in strangers. You’d think given that she’s been working for some Orphan Pimp Twins (basically), that she might be a little more suspicious. But nope, she goes all out for One pretty quickly. Then when she’s trying to rescue little brother, she is all “This brain in a fish tank is telling me to climb into this machine? Seems legit.” I mean, granted it worked out for her but still. You crazy little girl.
I really enjoyed this movie for the acting, set pieces, small details, and the plot as well. It was a surprising random find on Netflix that I’m very happy to have stumbled upon.