A reappraisal of Amélie

I had seen Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain in the winter of 2001 when it came out in theatres in Belgium and had not taken to it because of its faux happiness and its European hollywoodity. I’ve seen it again today and I think it is time for a reappraisal. This clever film shows a unique understanding of visual and auditory culture. It is told by an omniscient narrator* in an extremely writerly and accomplished style.**

The visuals and the score from Yann Tiersen are virtually symbiotic. One peep show scene features music from French house musician Alex Gopher‘s “The Child” (1999) (“them that’s got, shall get”). I wanted to give you the Kenny Dope remix (the one actually featured in Amélie). In stead, here Youtube is a slower version with many intrusive voices but interesting visuals (animation made out of typography by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet). If you badly need the Kenny Dope remix, buy Beats & Pieces vol. 2 on the highly recommended series out on BBE Records.

*On the omniscient narrator, see scenes in the recent film Stranger Than Fiction in which Dustin Hoffman teaches a whole seminar on the omniscient narrator phrase par excellence “little did he know”, illustrating the excesses of literary theory.

** Films such as Reconstruction (which I liked immensely) owe a lot to the Ameliesque aesthetic.