Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Micmacs

Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2009, France (8.8*)
aka Micmacs à tire-larigot

A wonderfully inventive and constantly surprising comedy film from Jeunet, director of the more famous Amelie, and the epic and beautifully shot war-romance A Very Long Engagement, his previous film (2004). The story begins with a soldier being killed disabling a land mine. His young son sees the logo of the arms manufacturer in an army photo of the site. Now an adult, Bazil, comically played by Danny Boon, is a video store clerk who takes a bullet in the head in a bizarre crime accident when a shootout occurs outside his shop. Doctors can't remove the bullet, but Bazil is given the spent cartridge, so he now knows the ammo maker as well.

Bazil becomes a street performer and beggar, and decides to seek revenge on the two companies, but doesn't know how. He meets a wonderful group of eccentric castoffs through a pardoned criminal named Slammer (Jean-Pierre Marielle) who have a hidden fortress (called 'Micmacs à tire-larigot') inside a junkyard - a group that fixes and recycles various items discarded by society. This makeshift family takes him in, and also takes on his goal.

With the help of a contortionist, Elastic Girl (Julie Ferrier), who sometimes hides in the refrigerator, a human calculator (Marie-Julie Baup), an inventor (Michel Crémadès), a 'mama cook' (Yolande Moreau), a human cannonball (Dominique Pinon) and others, they devise a long, complex, Rube Goldberg-like plan, which often requires a "Plan B" as things often go awry.

This film often surprises and never follows a straight path anywhere, and is quite unlike any other film - think Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Time Bandits, Fisher King) meets Cirque du Soleil, yet it never takes itself as seriously as either of those. Jeunet, in an interview on the dvd, says that "Micmacs" is an invented word that means "shenanigans". He spends two years on average making a film, and it shows in all the little details you can spot in a world that always seems a little off from reality, as if you're seeing the world through circus-tinted glasses. He says he includes every little inspiration he gets from reality, logging them all on a computer, and part of this came from the tv-series "Mission Impossible".

Sadly, we need more inventive films like this one, which borders on fantasy, yet delivers a seemingly straighforward plotline that has one cheering it's eccentric gang of societal castoffs as they take on major worldwide arms dealers. Jeunet is establishing himself as one of the most visually unique directors in the world, perfect for a new millenium.

2 comments:

Anonymous,  December 11, 2013 at 9:16 PM  

is there any other this type movie...? 10/10 mooovie

José Sinclair January 7, 2014 at 3:08 PM  

I don't know of any films like this.. it's very unique.. probably the only other fantasy with a light attitude and a good sense of humor and magic is Tim Burton's BIG FISH, his best film

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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