New From Jeunet, old from Powell annd Pressburger

MICMACS ***1/2

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s new film will probably tick all the right boxes with his many fans. Most of his usual crowd-pleasing delights are here: incredibly inventive camera work and art design; a complete world within itself that is not quite our world; weird, wacky and wonderful gadgets, toys and knick-knacks (or micmacs); and, of course, many of his celebrated clowning ensemble, including the “face” of his work, Dominique Pinon. The extremely likeable lead – the excellent clown Dany Boon – plays a fellow whose Dad was blown up by a land mine and who has a bullet in his head due to an extremely random event. When he discovers the weapons manufacturers behind each of these pieces of weaponry, he launches a program of revenge with the help of a completely eccentric ragtag batch of societal outsiders who have been “adopted” by a large den mother and who live underground building little gadgets. If all this sounds fanciful and far-fetched, of course it is, and it’s meant to be. The first half hour and the last twenty minutes or so are outstanding; the middle, unfortunately, gets a little muddled and my interest strayed a tad. Destined to sit more with The City of Lost Children than with the classics Delicatessen and Amelie on the Jeunet totem pole, Micmacs still offers many zany and highly imaginative delights.

THE RED SHOES ****

This beautifully restored 35mm print of the 1948 classic backstage ballet melodrama from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger is a total joy from start to finish and almost a masterclass in great filic storytelling. An absolute and acknowledged classic, the film has been through a lavish restoration and is a technicolour sight to behold.

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