Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Marie-Laure Dougnac, Dominique Pinon, Pascal Benezech
Colour 99 minutes
The film which made its directors Jeunet and Caro well-known. It stars Dominique Pinon who also appears in other films by the directors.
"Delicatessen" is set in a Dickensian future, fog-shrouded streets hiding technological and moral decay. A circus clown mourning his lost partner comes to stay at a butcher's shop. What he doesn't know is where the butcher gets his choice cuts from, and that he's next on the list to supply his venal fellow lodgers. Will a romance with the myopic butcher's daughters, and the underground vegan rebels, save his bacon?
This film is a very black comedy, with crazy moments of invention. What could have been a Hammer style horror is lifted by scenes of sublime direction. The butcher's shop is a wonderful madhouse for the eye to behold, it feels more like something from the 1950s than the 1990s.
There is a stylish scene where the clown (played by Pinon) tries to cure the squeaking of springs in a bed. Sound plays a key role in the film, from the ghostly voice encouraging a suicidal wife to the heavenly sound of a bowed saw.
Innocence triumphs in the end against corrupt cynicism. Perhaps the message of the film is to keep a sense of wonder in the mundane, no matter how mundane it is.