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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C'est magnifique. Surreal and so unreal....
On its release, this French film caused much interest and praise due to its freshness and vitality. The joint debut of directors Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet has distinctive visual style, a surreal yet clever plot, hilarious comic pieces and comedy timing making it a delightful, colourful, imaginative film of many surprises that refuses to become classified within any...
Published on 10 Oct 2003 by Brian G

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars N'est pas vegetarien !
Quirky, brilliantly filmed, interesting, often comical, well acted, loved the sets.
Dark, macabre, grotesque, often a bit sickening (if you think about it), over-extended
ending which becomes a bit of a farce.
Worth watching but don't rush out to buy it.
Published on 22 Nov 2012 by Jack Oswald


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very disturbing film - disturbing that it makes you laugh., 11 Nov 2008
This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
This is film noir set I presume in post world war 2 Paris, but anyway the details don't matter except to say that the starkness of the landscape is echoed in that of peoples' struggle to survive. The fascination is that up to an almost ridiculous point a pretense of adhering to various social conventions is kept up while all the while macabre scenes lurk and hang unseen ( but not unheard ) . It is certainly of the 'elephant in the room ' variety that few wish to either acknowledge or confront - you will soon work it out for yourself.The film revels in rapaciousness. You will find yourself laughing at absurdity, at touching moments of human urbanity,but also at things which normally would be too chilling to be funny. Very well acted and tightly directed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and funny - despite the people eating bits, 14 April 2010
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This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
If you are looking for a post apocalyptic, bittersweet love story with a cannibalistic subplot then you've come to the right film.

After some kind of catastrophe meat has become impossible to find but a local butcher keeps supplying his loyal customers (who are also his tenants) with their daily iron requirement by all means necessary. I'm not giving away the plot by revealing "they're killing and eating humans". We find this out very early on in the film. Not long after we realise that the customers are in on the secret as well. This shocking fact is secondary to the main plot of the film, which itself is probably secondary to the style in which it is made.

The butcher employs resident handymen for the building but the main reason for employing them is to get a fresh supply of meat. A former circus performer (Louison) is the latest for the chopping block but he's a quirky character and beguiles the butcher's daughter and she decides to save him. We get amusing glimpses into the lives of the other residents, each one more bizarre than the one before.

This film is directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. I've seen Amelie (directed by Jeunet) and the styles are similar. Both films create their own worlds in which we become fascinated by the lives of the quirky characters that inhabit them. However, while Amelie, while in a world of her own, at least lived a recognisable Paris Delicatessen is set in a fantasy world of what looks like the only building still standing in a large city. However there is still television and electricity (and postmen) because the plot requires them.

Like Amelie the charm of the film is the little details in the film that may or may not be crucial to the plot, such as the short sighted daughter buying two of everything in case of breakages and Louison's saw playing talents.

The overall tone is definitely positive and funny (really, even with the cannibalism). Basically the motto is love will conquer all. Thank God, Caro and Jeunet for that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "No-one is entirely evil. It's the circumstances. Or we don't know what we're doing.", 5 Dec 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
Set in a rotting wasteland where food and barter replace money, Dominque Pinon's unemployed clown (a gentle-natured cross between Popeye and Klaus Kinski) takes a job as handyman-cum-dinner in a rundown apartment owned by a butcher who hacks up the hired help to feed his other, not too morally particular residents. Complications ensue when he falls in love with the butcher's daughter and she enlists the aid of an underground group of vegetarian terrorists to help her save him. The butcher himself is beginning to feel remorse ("No-one is entirely evil. It's the circumstances, or we don't know what we're doing") but that doesn't stop him trying to make mincemeat out of his prospective son-in-law. There's more, but you probably won't believe me.

What starts out as just your average cannibalism comedy gradually wins you over, drawing you into the damaged lives of the block's credibly eccentric inhabitants, and even comes up with an entirely new way to get out of a trapped bathroom, but not one I'd recommend trying at home (unless you're being pursued by a cannibalistic butcher, of course). Nice little touches abound, such as the butcher's clumsy short-sighted daughter buying two of everything in case she breaks them or the granny who has tin cans tied to her so that her family can find her if she gets lost (no prizes for guessing what happens to her). You may not think you'll like it, but you probably will in spite of yourself...

The muted sepia tones are well captured, and there's an excellent extras package as well, including a genuinely informative audio commentary by Jean-Pierre Jeunet on a disc well worth buying - if it's to your taste.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, funny, creative and DARK, 1 July 2008
This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
When recently asked by colleagues what my favourite film was, I said I couldn't pick one in particular, but a French film called Delicatessen would certainly be in the top five.

"What's it about?" they asked, as one would expect from a small group, all of whom had yet to see it:

"In a post-apocalyptic French apartment block in a world in which the resource we call meat is scarce, the Landlord, a butcher whose shop is annexed to the building, serves his clients the meat of tenants that get behind with the rent."

That's enough to put your average film lover off, and my colleagues, which is both true and a shame.

This film is multi-layered due to aspects of the building and the various characters, the tenants, who reside there. It's a black comedy, it's a creative masterpiece, it's a love story, it's a thriller, it's a joy and it has few peers - Amelie would one, although Amelie dispenses with the dark humour, gains a little from advances in CGI (and budget) and as a result becomes a worldwide hit.

One of the tenants has rid himself of the need to purchase any food types by flooding his apartment to make it a rampant breeding ground for snails and frogs.

If that isn't enough reason to spend 90 minutes of your life watching it, I'll stop right there.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!, 3 Feb 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
You probably know him best for "Amelie" and "A Very Long Engagement," but Jean-Pierre Jeunet did an entirely different kind of comedy in "Delicatessen," a wicked black comedy that deals with... um, cannibalism. It's a twisted, dark story populated by the oddest characters that the writer could possibly have imagined -- and man, is it funny.
It's the postapocalyptic future, where food is so scarce that grain is used as money, and meat is completely gone. The setting is an apartment building run by a local butcher (Jean-Claude Dreyfus), who feeds his tenants in an unusual way: he hires assistants, then turns them into tomorrow's din-din. His newest assistant is the gentle vegetarian ex-clown Louison (Dominic Pinon).
But the butcher's plans get thrown for a loop when his cello-playing daughter Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac) falls for Stanley and (unsurprisingly) wants to save her love from a fate worse than entrees. So she contacts the vegetarian resistance, the Troglodytes, and tricks them into invading her father's house, on the night when he plans to slaughter Louison.
Okay, let's get this straight: cannibalism is not funny. But comedies about cannibalism CAN be very funny, if done well. And "Delicatessen" manages to be a funny comedy in the tradition of Terry Gilliam, with the warped direction, surreal direction and strange settings. What was later precious in "Amelie" is weirdly ominous here... not that that's a bad thing.
It's also a challenge to create such a dark, bleak setting and somehow inject offbeat comedy into it. For example, one sex scene is juxtaposed against various activities (carpet beating, cello playing) -- all in the same rhythm. It's a moment of pure comic skill. But at the same time, Jeunet slips a bittersweet love story into the middle of the strangeness, relying on Pinon and Dougnac's strong chemistry.
The oddities of the characters are what take this dark comedy to the next level: a tough postman; a pair of brothers who make "moo" boxes, and an aristocratic old lady who goes to great -- and unsuccessful -- lengths to kill herself, Rube Goldberg-style. Julie and the innocent Louison are a bright spot, but the Troglodytes are a bit over-the-top. Really, must they be THAT dumb?
"Delicatessen" is an acquired taste. Okay, now that I've got that out of my system, here's the real end of the review: Jean-Pierre Jeunet's dark comedy is a bit hard to swallow at first, but the wickedly funny characters and offbeat script will win you over.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to take to a desert island, at least you will have a smile on your face, 8 Feb 2007
By 
Four Violets (Hertford UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
Can a film which is about cannibalism, a terrible future for the earth and uncomfortable themes like suicide really be gentle, funny and lovable? This one is. Its the film I have watched most often, year after year, and still laugh out loud at. This is visual humour, and even thinking about some of the ridiculous situations (two people testing a squeaking bedspring by sitting on the bed and bouncing from side to side in unison, the squeaking synchronised with all the other bizarre goings-on in the house; an unlikeable character with a hatchet buried in his head and a surprised expression on his face) - it makes me smile to think about them and laugh out loud to watch.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real treat, 4 April 2007
By 
L. J. Thompson "LadyLivvie" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
This film is a really wonderful find. It was recommended to me by a friend a couple of years ago and has remained a firm favourite of mine ever since. If you want to see a slightly off the wall film with a great plot and hilarious visual gags, pick this one, it is one of the best!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicatessen, 4 Jun 2011
This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] (DVD)
Superb film that you will want to watch again and again. Brilliant characters, original and unique. Even if you don't normally watch foreign language films, the ability of the actors to visualise their emotions removes any language barrier.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bold piece of cinema by film-loving directors, 20 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Delicatessen [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Well, having seen 'The City of Lost Children' and finding it absolutely mesmerising, I decided to catch a glimpse at this, their first film together. While I do not believe it is as good as TCOLC, I still feel that this really is an excellent piece of cinema. The cinematography and colour scheme work brilliantly, to create a real netherworld feel. The plot, about a butcher, who kills the clients who live in his flat and sells them to his customers, finds the perfect balance between grotesque and humour. The acting is hammed up to the right degree, with a romance at the core of the film to warm the coldest of hearts. The techniques of this directing duo ( such as scratched records and huge reactions to the simplest of events) really adds to that netherworld feel. There is no attempt or desire on the part of directors to show you a part of real life, it is their aim to dazzle you, and for me they succeed. While this may not be to everyone's taste, this is certainly recommended viewing for all those who get carried away by the style more than the substance (even though this film has both). If you like this, you'll love The City of Lost Children, which is a CHitty Chitty Bang Bang film for adults
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tasty!, 8 Oct 2004
By 
A. Skudder (Crawley, West Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
In a post-apocalyptic world, while the Australians (in Mad Max) are more concerned with petrol and V8s, and the Americans are making sure the mail gets through (The Postman), the French will, of course, be more concerned with food. Delicatessen never hints at what has brought society down, but is centred on an apartment block owned by the butcher whos shop is on the ground floor. In some ways the building is one of the real stars of the film, with its network of pipes and tubes which are used by the various inhabitants to eavesdrop on or communicate with their neighbours.
Jean-Claude Dreyfus is perfect as the butcher and dominates every scene he is in, and the rest of the main cast fill their roles admirably, although the members of the underground resistance (the Troglodistes) never get beyond a second dimension.
When this film is funny it is absolutely hilarious. At other times it is just amazingly surreal, and is never less than watchable, right from the very beginning which is a title sequence David Fincher would be proud of. Really. The title sequence is worth seeing just on its own.
Special mention has to go to the menus on the DVD, which are beautiful. Some of the options are difficult to read unless you get closer to the screen, but nevertheless these are some of the best menus I have ever seen.
I have a small quibble with some of the translation for the sub-titles, which are sometimes a bit literal rather than looking for the suitable colloquial English, (For example: using the word 'shawl' for a man's scarf jars a little bit) but generally the sub-titles are easy to follow and not too intrusive.
This is one successful French film which is unlikely to be given the big-budget Hollywood treatment, so don't wait for the big-name remake: just watch this one now!
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Delicatessen [DVD] [1991]
Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] by Marc Caro (DVD - 2002)
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