Monday, August 1, 2011

Amelie on Blu-ray

In 2001 Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet brought to theaters, the wonderful film Amelie. French actress Audrey Tautou, who later also starred in Jeunet’s follow up film A Very Long Engagement, brings to life the wonderful, innocent character of Amelie, a young woman who was overly protected by her parents as a child and has learned to live in a fantasy world where she ultimately comes to life to better the lives of those around her. This 2001 film, nominated for 5 Academy Awards is considered by many as one of the top 100 films of all time and consistently stays among IMDB’s top 50 films of all time. Amelie has finally come to Blu-ray DVD and is sure to delight the fans of the film, as well as bring about new fans.

The direction by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and his understanding of the talents of those around him has him constantly ranked as one of the world’s top directors. He is fantastic here, as in all of his films at using various camera angles, unique story, coloring, and set design. Technically this film is brilliant and while it is sub-titled it is easy to look at without the subtitles. There are times the actors do such a good job in their acting that it is easy to get lost in the subtitles on screen. The pictures tell the story and with the wonderful soundtrack and imagery portrayed this film is virtually perfect.

We see Amelie as a young child growing up in an overly protected home. As a fantasy world exists around her we come to understand the innocence of Amelie. It is the tragic day that Princes Di is killed in a car accident that her world changes as Amelie has grown older and moved out on her own. It is a discovery in her apartment that leads her to helping those around her who are experiencing difficulty. As she helps others she comes to a place where she has the opportunity to experience love like she has never felt before. She doesn’t realize the lives she touches not only has an impact on them, it impacts her.

One of the things I appreciated about the direction of this film is not just the exceptional technical merits including the wonderful story but also the ability of Jeunet to develop each character. This 2 hour movie takes time to let us know about each character, not just Amelie. We learn to appreciate each one so much that we leave wanting more. It would be easy and satisfying to go back and retell the story with each of the characters being featured in their own right, in their own film. Just as one of the characters, a painter is trying to understand a character he is painting; the viewer could make the same attempt at learning more about each character on screen. Jeunet understand the human psyche and in his telling of the story we learn about all of the characters that Amelie comes into contact with.

There is a spiritual concept that says, ‘what you have done for the least of these you have done unto me.’ Amelie is a character who in many ways sees value in the lives of those around her. She dedicates her life as a seemingly unimportant waitress to one that has the potential to impact those around her. She doesn’t realize the one universal spiritual truth among all religions that we should; ‘do unto others as we would have them do unto you.’ As Amelie helps others, she realizes she is treating people the way she wants to be treated. As one show and displays love and caring to others they soon realize the impact it can have on their own life. There is a willingness of Amelie to do this and she does it with humility, she doesn’t want credit for what she does. She does it anonymously, wanting merely to touch the lives around her in a positive way. While there are minor setbacks, ultimately, she is as a loving God, providing hope and change for those facing difficulty. She does what she does because she desires relationship that is meaningful. It isn’t just for those from afar she does this though; she includes those closest to her.

I had been told for some time by my daughter that Amelie is one of her favorite movies of all time. While I wanted to see it for some time, I hadn’t until now. The Blu-ray viewing is wonderful with a very nice transfer, better than most movie screens unless digital, a wonderful soundtrack that sounds beautiful. The Blu-ray experience has the quality image, clarity and wonderful sounds, but also the special features that deliver. After viewing the film I can see why it is among many critics’ top 50 films of all time. I can’t wait to have my daughter down to my house to see the film on Blu-ray, it is such a wonderful experience, I think it may move her to consider the purchase of a Blu-ray player. I will watch this film again, and again, enjoying it each time as I know it is a brilliant film, by a brilliant director, that can likely be viewed in no better way than this Blu- ray experience.

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