Sunday, October 18, 2009

London Film Fest Day 5 - MICMACs

Jean Pierre Jeunet of DELICATESSEN and AMELIE fame is back with a delightful, inventive, visually stunning movie about a bunch of misfits who bring arms dealers to account! It's a movie that is steeped in cinema history, but wears that knowledge lightly. It has everything from the finest in physical comedy, reminiscent of Tati and Chaplin - to the practical jokes and explosions of Tex Avery - to post-modern insider jokes worthy of Charlie Kauffman. I had a thoroughly good time watching MICMACs!

So what's it all about, Alfie? In a set-up that's a paragon of efficiency, Jeunet shows us a French soldier killed by a landmine in Algeria. Back at home, his wife goes insane with grief and his little boy, left to a convent, escapes in a laundry van. Thirty years later, he's manning a video store, lipsynching to The Big Sleep, when a drive-by shooting leaves him with a bullet in his brain, without a job or a flat, and on the streets. And who is to blame for his predicament? Why, the two arms companies who sold the landmine and the bullet respectively.

Our hero is picked up and be-familied by a wonderful group of people united by having scraps of metal in their bodies. They salvage old junk, fix it and sell it. Together, they help our hero exact revenge through ingenious practical jokes and tricks - the "micmacs" of the title.

The resulting movie is a goofy caper - a screwball romance - a visual and linguistic delight. It's funnier and more endearing than Amelie and I hope will have as much success.

MICMACS played Toronto 2009. It goes on release in Belgium and France on October 28th; it opens on November 26th; on December 17th in the Netherlands; on January 8th in the UK; and on January 24th in Germany.

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