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Amélie

2001 film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Amélie (aka Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, or The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain) is a 2001 French romantic comedy film about a shy waitress who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better, while struggling with her own isolation.

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant.
She'll change your life.

Amélie PoulainEdit

  • It's better to help people than garden gnomes.
  • I had two heart attacks, an abortion because I smoked crack while I was pregnant. Besides that, I'm fine. [to her father, who is not paying attention]
  • ... Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route.
    • [whispering in theater] I like to look for things no one else catches. I hate the way drivers never watch the road in old American movies.
  • Vous au moins, vous ne risquez pas d'être un légume, puisque même un artichaut a du cœur.
    • You couldn't even be a vegetable — even artichokes have a heart.

HipolitoEdit

  • Sans toi, les émotions d'aujourd'hui ne seraient que la peau morte des émotions d'autrefois.
    • Without you, the emotions of today would be the dead skin of another time.
  • Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.
    • Failure teaches us that life is but a draft, an endless rehearsal of a show that will never play.
  • C'est l'angoisse du temps qui passe qui nous fait tant parler du temps qu'il fait.
    • It is the fear of time (french: "temps") going by, that make one speak so much about today's weather (french "temps").
      • In the English subtitles, this was translated as "We pass the time of day to forget how time passes."

Raymond DufayelEdit

  • Voilà, ma petite Amélie, vous n'avez pas des os en verre. Vous pouvez vous cogner à la vie. Si vous laissez passer cette chance, alors avec le temps, c'est votre cœur qui va devenir aussi sec et cassant que mon squelette. Alors, allez y, nom d'un chien!
    • So, little Amelie, your bones aren't made of glass. You can take life's knocks. If you let this chance go by, eventually your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton. So... Go and get him, for pete's sake!

NarratorEdit

  • In the apartment downstairs from Amélie lives Raymond Dufayel; they call him "The Glass Man." He was born with bones as brittle as crystal. All his furniture is padded. A handshake could crush his fingers. He's stayed inside for twenty years. Time has changed nothing.
  • Nino is late. Amelie can only see two explanations. 1 - he didn't get the photo. 2 - before he could assemble it, a gang of bank robbers took him hostage. The cops gave chase. They got away... but he caused a crash. When he came to, he'd lost his memory. An ex-con picked him up, mistook him for a fugitive, and shipped him to Istanbul. There he met some Afghan raiders who took him to steal some Russian warheads. But their truck hit a mine in Tajikistan. He survived, took to the hills, and became a Mujaheddin. [Increasingly angry] Amelie refuses to get upset for a guy who'll eat borscht all his life in a hat like a tea cozy.
  • In such a dead world, Amelie prefers to dream until she's old enough to leave home
  • Amelie still seeks solitude. She amuses herself with silly questions about the world below... such as, "how many couples are having an orgasm right now?"

[shots of several couples having an orgasm] Amelie: "Fifteen!"

OtherEdit

  • Eva: Les temps sont durs pour les rêveurs.
    • Times are hard for dreamers.
  • Newsstand Woman: Une femme sans amour, c'est comme une fleur sans soleil, ça dépérit.
    • A woman without love wilts like a flower without the sun, it rots.
  • Little boy: Quand le doigt montre le ciel, l' imbécile regarde le doigt
    • When a finger is pointing up to the sky, only a fool looks at the finger.

DialogueEdit

  • [Mme. Wallace is reading an old letter from her long-deceased husband.]
    Mme. Wallace: "When my sweet little weasel appears at the station…" Did anyone ever write you like that?
    Amélie: No. I'm nobody's little weasel [Je ne suis la belette de personne].

About AmélieEdit

  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Amelie" is a delicious pastry of a movie, a lighthearted fantasy in which a winsome heroine overcomes a sad childhood and grows up to bring cheer to the needful and joy to herself. You see it, and later when you think about it, you smile. Audrey Tautou, a fresh-faced waif who looks like she knows a secret and can't keep it, plays the title role, as a little girl who grows up starving for affection. Her father, a doctor, gives her no hugs or kisses and touches her only during checkups—which makes her heart beat so fast he thinks she is sickly. Her mother dies as the result of a successful suicide leap off the towers of Notre Dame, a statement which reveals less of the plot than you think it does.
  • The titular heroine’s search for love and meaning in Montmartre made the world fall for her and the city as viewed through her eyes. Amélie, released in 2001, is one of the UK’s highest-grossing foreign language films. But 15 years later, does its director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (pictured below) think he could make the film today given the tragic events the city has faced?
    “This period is more cynical, especially in France,” says Jeunet from his Parisian office. “Fifteen years ago I showed the film in Toronto and the day after the screening it was 9/11. I was stunned like everybody, and I thought – Amélie is finished in the USA. But it was the opposite. People need positive stories, they need something with joy, something light.
    “Just two days ago it was screening in a theatre in Paris packed full of young people. Everybody had seen the film before – only two people hadn’t – but when you have something positive in a story, it’s always a success because it’s not easy to write a positive story without it being sugary like stupid American films.”
  • FILMMAKER: In Amélie, you are working with locations and exteriors for the first time, but the way you’ve manipulated the images in postproduction "interiorizes" it all in a way.
JEUNET: I tried to work outside as if I was on a stage. We modified a lot of the reality. But it was important that the film take place in the Paris of today, not in some kind of timeless dimension. For example, we changed things on the walls, got rid of graffiti, added signs. We made sure there were modern objects, ugly things in the corners of rooms. Then in postproduction, if we did not like a face in one corner, "Bye-bye people."
FILMMAKER: Again, the idea of every frame like a painting.
JEUNET: Yes. I hate white skies.
  • Q: Why do you think Amélie resonates so well with audiences?
Jeunet: We have several strong ideas in Amélie, but the main of course is the story of someone helping other people and not wanting something in return. Amélie does that for free. It’s about generosity and I think especially in this crazy world we need some positive stories. Also, everything Amélie loves – like putting her hand in the grains – these small details are touching for everybody.
  • Of the rapturous reception that “Amélie” has garnered among fans, Jeunet remembers that “when I was writing it, I was thinking ‘who will be interested in this bullshit?’” but, “at the end of the film, we could feel something, it was special, there was something in the air, a buzz, you know?” Many fans feel a deep connection to the character, which he says is, “a dream for every director, every creator. Because you make something so personal and it becomes a huge success, it was a perfect win.” Jeunet says that “it’s difficult to understand, but there is something about generosity, Amélie doesn’t want anything in return, and I think that is one of the secrets, and it speaks about the little pleasures in life.” He also attributes the post-9/11 release in the U.S. to the way in which audiences wanted to connect to a film like this.

CastEdit

External linksEdit