City of Lost Children




Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet




Ron Perlman, Daniel Emilfork, Judith Vittet


Colour 112 mins

Another film from the directing team of Jeunet and Caro who did "Delicatessen". It stars the American actor Ron Perlman, and a very confident performance by by an 11-year Judith Vittet.

"City of Lost Children" is set in a run-down steampunk future more than worthy of Jules Verne. A mad scientist Krank is kidnapping children so he can steal their dreams. An ex-whaler played by Perlman starts on a strange odyssey to rescue his adopted son. The son has been kidnapped by a cult in league with Krank. The whaler's quest involves him with a gang of orphans who steal for a sinister Siamese couple.

The film has many fine moments of invention. The way the children perform their robberies is as wonderful as it is unexpected and roundabout. Events happen according to a Lewis Carroll style logic. There is black comedy, and dark evil, but innocent good wins out perhaps in spite of itself.

The sounds of the film are profound, particularly the barrel organ which plays to control the lethal mosquito. The mosquito is among the computer generated images in the film which was technically ambitious for its time.

As Krank has to dream dreams vicariously perhaps the film comments on modern society where so many of us live vicariously. Are we less real than characters in soap operas?