Plot – Post-apocalyptic surrealist black comedy about the landlord of an apartment building who occasionally prepares a delicacy for his odd tenants – Delicatessen.
Released – 1991
If you liked: Amélie, Ed Wood, Orlando
Delicatessen is most assuredly a film that will split opinions, some will find it unstructured and touching on the surreal, but for me, that’s part of this weird, post-apocalyptic black-comedies charm, filled with characters, costumes and a location not entirely dissimilar to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil or the Mad Max series. In fact, it’s easy to see these two films sharing the same universe.
In place of Gilliam’s elaborate and anarchic technology, directors Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet gave Delicatessen a multi-layered plot, forming an incredibly complex combination of moving parts, where each character or group of character interlocking with all others in sometimes surprising and interesting ways, with these connections and crossed paths coming together in a beautiful symphony of events that get ever more chaotic as the film hurtles towards its finale.
The set design and the visuals are wonderfully unique, with most of the film taking place inside a dilapidated apartment building left surrounded by the ruins of bombed-out Paris. The apartment’s tenants make do with what was left behind, remodelling broken things to fit requirements they weren’t originally designed for and sourcing requirements such as food in unconventional and sometimes dark ways. One of the most interesting tenants is an old man who turned his apartment into a swamp as a way of farming frogs and snails.
While not a depressing film, Delicatessen isn’t a movie that many will find uplifting, with even the message of hope at the end leaves you with questions because of the amount of destruction caused by the casts escapades and post-apocalyptic world where they live. That being said, you can’t help but enjoy the one-of-a-kind look and feel the movie has and the marvellous performances that the entire crew share.