Stay away from blood sucking critics but don’t get too attached to your childhood pet because we are covering Amélie with Julio this week. Quid Pro Mo brought to you by the legendary Contrarians podcast.
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Writers: Guillaume Laurant (scenario), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (scenario)
Worldwide Gross: $173,924,742
Breakdown and Analysis
- We talk a lot about how important it is to buy into Amelie and her world. Scenes that resonate with Julio were eye roll inducing for KT and evoked indifference in Oti.
- We have quirky quirks of all the quirks but what are we doing with this?
- KT didn’t latch onto Amelie as a character because she wasn’t rooted into why she should care about Amelie and the film was more just following her adventures.
- We are taken through a series of vignettes in which we delight in Amelie and this is bolstered in her want to help people.
- Julio was bought in and had a front row seat at the Amelie show.
- Like Julio, Oti bought into the world and enjoyed her fulfillment through others. The bump in the road was introducing a love story and that is her driving force.
- Surprisingly, KT didn’t mind the love story.
- KT rolled her eyes so hard when Amelie was helping the blind man across the road and giving him a tour. It is not to the level of westerners going to developing countries putting a brick and feeling like they are helping. Certainly not. Righteousness of saying I am helping you but really I am gaining something out of this in altruistic ways. But at the same time, we need to understand that this film is through the perspective of Amelie. How do we know if that’s where the blind man wanted to go? What if he was on his way to pick up medication? If you think you are helping and the person that is being helped isn’t helped in any way, then take a step back and see what that person needs.
- Julio retorts that we are in a different movie. It has established that it is not realistic. A disneyfied world. There could have been negative consequences to her helping but we were always leaning to a happy ending.
- When KT is introduced into a world that makes sense, she is all in. If we are a couple of steps away from reality or morality, KT is generally fine with that. The job of the movie is to get us to care. The delivery and how we get to the world is also important.
- Julio reflects it could have been a movie where she thinks she helped only to realise she didn’t make a difference at all. The focus is more on her helping and how that distracts away from her own self reflection. She is spending all her time and energy towards others and is not taking care of herself. It is unfortunate that she starts to take care of herself through her love interest, Nino.
- KT had no expectations for the film aside from the fact that it was well adorned. She likes going into something knowing as little as possible. KT was expecting to be able to immerse herself in the world. She didn’t need to get challenged but it was difficult to indulge her so much as a character. KT relates to focusing on other people to avoid dealing with her own shit. It is more the packaging and how it was done. As long as it doesn’t look terribly bad, KT is fine as long as the story is there.
- Cinematography was stunning. The use of photography helped convey to us how Amelie was receiving the world. Once KT saw the birthing scene, she knew she was in for an artsy film.
- Oti enjoyed the film more the first time he watched it by the breathtaking visuals. Colours and interesting perspectives played a big part of what the story was. It’s good to have technical aspects, which play a big part on what makes the movie what it is. But that alone is not enough. Oti draws examples through the Kenyan film, Rafiki.
- Julio notes how the director chose to portray Paris in his mind. Colours are vibrant and it does a good job and prepares us for the tone of the movie. If the movie didn’t look this way, we would get KT’s Joker film. If it looked different, the story would feel different. Julio enjoys when the film goes fully surreal, when Nino is talking to the polaroids. When Amelie goes to bed and the animals contemplate if she is in love. Julio believed the director chose the visuals for the story and not to appease critics.
- In regards to the writing, it was fun to have Amelie and her parents be introduced with what they love and hate but they further extended this for characters that have little impact to the overall movie. If KT feels like this is taking away from her investment in Amelie and an opportunity to see different perspectives, this is why she is not a fan. There is nothing wrong with a character not wanting to face reality, it is actually one of the most compelling themes in the movie. This was left to the side to accommodate the vehicle of quirkisms. Fantastical elements were at the forefront and if we get to a compelling story, we get to it.
- If Amelie was the only quirky character, Amelie would get on Julio’s nerves. Manic pixie dream girl could affect Amelie but everyone has their quirks in the movie. Julio references Garden State where Natalie Portman plays a similar character in a ‘normal’ setting. The archetype of the quirky girl doesn’t work anymore.
- Reality can be the beast of conformity. There’s always that trepidation of how much you relinquish yourself to be a part of real life but Amelie was feeling that at a heightened sense. KT felt that drawing from her own experiences but not necessarily through Amelie as a character.
- When Raymond confronts her for the second time, it reminded Julio of when he had a video camera as a kid. He came to realise the camera can become a social shield and not needing to actively participate. Coming to a realisation of putting the camera down and interacting with people. This helped through Amelie’s reluctance. If tasked to it, Julio would remove the love story and focus more on her efforts.
- Oti offers that not everyone needs a boyfriend or girlfriend. We have themes of change and isolation where she is always helping others and not caring for herself. Once she found love, he was able to capture her essence in the Renoir painting. Nino got in the way when there was such real depth. It takes real courage to put yourself out there. It had the potential to be great. Us seeing, as broken as she is, breaks through her isolation and helping people.
- Amelie is not fully active in her pursuit with Nino. Nino was meeting more than halfway to her. It would have been more rewarding if she had put in more work, stepping outside of her comfort zone. Instead, when she opens the door, he is there. It is not as satisfying or powerful as seeing her visually overcoming her issues.
- Nino is literally a copy and paste of Amelie. If courage is a theme, where do we see that? As much as we see her go through complications in the story, there really isn’t any tangible character development for Amelie.
- Just to see her extend herself, in a little way, would have been much more rewarding.
- Julio would envision Nino as someone who isn’t French, perhaps an American. Real world complications would have made the story much more interesting.
- The Renoir painting was the anchorage in the movie and gives further meaning to the vignettes of her helping. It’s not the most subtle but KT will take what she can get.
- They alluded to Amelie not having the best health and the Dad talks about how they couldn’t travel because of that. He would tend to the shrine that he builds for his deceased wife. Seeing the storyline reminded KT of Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabelle Lee of a lover going to the sepulchre by the sea. Not being able to grieve in a sense to continue your life in a meaningful way. Amelie’s idea was to take a gnome around the world. Oti felt this is to show the dad that he can work through that fear and travel. Julio enjoys how they do a lot without focusing too much on it. He put his life on hold and changed little by little as he saw more photos of the gnome. The dynamic didn’t afford a dialogue between Amelie and her dad so her gnome idea was heartwarming. KT understands that we love and receive love in the capacity that we are able to. In many senses it can be too much or not enough. KT wasn’t expecting a perfect response, she wanted to live a bit more in the dad’s world. Bring the pain!
- Dominique was KT’s hope that this would be the first challenge to Amelie. His first response was to shuffle off this mortal coil. Hamlet reference.
- There is a veneer to this film and a lot of people that admire that.
- The saving graces that Oti loved is what KT hated.
- A big example that removes the Amelie tinted veneer was the mysterious bald man. It speaks to how Amelie and Nino give the real world a magical tint. They take little things that may not mean anything and turn them into epic quests.
- She fantasises how admired and how sad people are at her funeral. Lady Diana meant a lot to a lot of people across countries, KT felt as though Amelie wanted the same adoration. Our understanding of her and how she processes is through a screen. Amelie is the original Black Mirror. Joseph is the first podcaster with his recorder.
Unrelated but vital points
- The ones that didn’t take to Amelie are probably falling into a film abyss. Which KT is about to join.
- KT wants an engine to thrust her from beginning to end.
- Under the right tutelage, KT enjoys being lead.
- Viewers feel like they’ve watched one of type something and may not delve deeper into it. It would be interesting to see when the next non English speaking film will win Best Picture at the Oscars.
- Merch: Vehicle of quirkisms
- If KT still has badges in the film cinephile sphere, it would quickly vanish as she hasn’t dived into any of Wes Anderson’s works.
- The blind man will feature KT’s Daredevil fanfic.
- Shoutout to our beloved FilmBusters, we will always have The Jesus Rolls.
- Compelling, gut wrenching grief is KT’s kink.
- Make sure you listen to The Contrarians episode on The King’s Speech.