A butcher/landlord hires people for work with the
intentions of chopping them up to feed his tenants.
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro
Written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro, Gilles Adrien
Starring Dominique Pinon, Marie-Laure Dougnac,
Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Karin Viard
Delicatessen is a very wacky dark comedy that certainly isn’t for everyone. When the film was released, it was marketed in North America with “presented by Terry Gilliam” because he was a co-producer. If you like Gilliam’s directing style, then Delicatessen is up your alley. Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro worked together for years making short films before breaking out with this sensational feature length debut.
Post apocalyptic France is the setting and Clapet’s butcher shop/apartment building is specifically where we are. It’s very clear early on in the film that Clapet is cutting up humans to feed his tenants. This isn’t public knowledge, but it’s as if he has no remorse. Clapet hires a man named Louison who is a clown by trade but there’s no work due to the apocalypse. He is brought in for maintenance work, but really he’s just what Clapet wants to put on the menu next. This becomes increasingly difficult as a group of vegetarian rebels get involved and Louison starts to fall in love with Clapet’s daughter, Julie.
I definitely want to revisit Delicatessen because there’s a lot going on and the camera moves with relentless pace. Jean-Claude Dreyfus plays Clapet, who is one of the more bizarre killers I’ve seen on screen. I enjoyed all of the characters even though we don’t get too close to any of them. What’s special about Delicatessen to me is the production design and direction. Each scene is full of color and weird angles that allow you to escape into a world that is just so absurd.