Amelie

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Amelie: Technical Considerations to help you appreciate the film

This resource is designed to be used with clips from the film Amelie, as part of an ‘Auteur Study’ of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, director of Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, Amelie and A Very Long Engagement, as well as his Hollywood foray, Alien Resurrection.

The techniques used by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and cinematographer Bruno Dubonnell are primarily used to create the tone and atmosphere appropriate to the genre of this film: a romantic comedy.
The duality of the emotions required to create the desired effect in this genre (this means something that will be both funny and heart-warming) is also coupled with the individual creative vision of the director in shaping something that pushes the boundaries of traditional visual language.

Consider how each of the technical devices below assist in this creation.

Pseudo and real historical footage used in Amelie’s vision of herself as martyr. Solemn voiceover and added diegetic sound; old, public funeral footage (1900’s) are mixed with manipulated images of Amelie (scratched, black and white, sped-up, flickering images of her in a variety of situations) to place her at this time. Iconography of both Mother Theresa and Princess Di suggests the two dreams that Amelie has for herself: the “Queen of Hearts” and the selfless guardian angel. Along with the cast drawn Amelie’s real life - for hers is an associative vision drawn from the characters whom with she has interaction – these metaphorical images give the viewer an insight into the sort of emotional forces tugging at her.
What is humorous is the imaginative absurdity of the montage of Amelie’s life (her looking after the blind man in the Alps) as well as Amelie’s tearful response to her own cinematic obituary. Sound and image are joined to mock the sort of solemn delivery of these sorts of television pieces.
.
Other incidents that use this flashback technique of B + W footage also

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