Delicatessen Made in: France Language: French Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro Starring: Dominique Pinon, Marie-Laurie Dougnac, Jean-Claude Dreyfus Year: 1991
Synopsis: Set in an ambiguous post-apocalyptic time period in France, the story takes place in an apartment building owned by a butcher named Clapet (Jean-Claude Dreyfus). His tenants are a whimsical bunch who live above his shop. And like Sweeney Todd, Clapet is known to kill his tenants and serve them.
A mild-mannered former clown named Louison (Dominique Pinon) moves in, and is allowed to stay as long as he agrees to work as the building's handyman. Louison later falls for Clapet's shy daughter, Julie (Marie-Laurie Dougnac). When Louison is chosen as Clapet's next victim, Julie must choose between her love and loyalty to her father.
All the while, the oddballs occupying the building with them create all sorts of issues with their individual eccentricities as a climax full of sharp objects looms ahead.
The Good: By watching this movie, you'll be able to tell right away that Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro are guys who love their craft. Original, visually ingenious, and overall very clever, Delicatessen has some very amusing moments.
The story is highly unpredictable, but the strongest aspect is the characters. Dominique Pinon, who frequently collaborates with Jeunet, is a very likeable protagonist. And the host of other strange characters give the film a lot of personality.
The Bad: This film's not for everyone. Although critically acclaimed and pretty well-known, I'm afraid that someone who's never seen French movies will pick this up and swear never to watch foreign films again.
Who would like this movie: Fans of Jeunet's work will enjoy this film very much. In terms of look and feel, it's very similar to City of Lost Children which came out in 1994. Slow-paced but densely packed with detail, Delicatessen is very much an art film. Yes, it looks very beautiful and was made with a lot of passion. But I'd recommend it for fans of foreign films who are well experienced with watching unconventional, non-Hollywood stuff.
If you're just looking for something entertaining, this movie will definitely come across as "weird" and utterly bizarre (and a bit sick).