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The city of lost children

The city of lost children



One (Ron Perlman) earns his money as a fairground attraction: he gets tied up and breaks the chains with his muscular strength. After his partner was stabbed to death during a performance and the foundling child Denrée (Joseph Lucien), whom he adopted as a little brother, was kidnapped, One searches for the eternally hungry boy. Finally, nine-year-old Miette (Judith Vittet), who grew up in an orphanage, whose children are forced to street theft by the twin sisters (Odile Mallet and Geneviève Brunet) called "Kraken", helps him find Denrée.

Not only the octopus is up to mischief in the dark city by the sea, but also the gang of the “Cyclops” led by Gabriel Marie (Serge Merlin). These blind people kidnap children and sell them to the scientist Krank (Daniel Emilfork), who had died early, against artificial eyes.

Sick lives on an abandoned oil rig with the dwarf Mademoiselle Bismuth (Mireille Mossé), six clones (Dominique Pinon) and Irvin, an interactive brain kept in a kind of aquarium. Since Krank is unable to dream, he desperately tries to use his equipment to transfer the dreams of the children to himself. However, he only succeeds with nightmares.

When the Cyclops One and Miette want to drown, the twin sisters send out the flea draftsman Marcello (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) to save the giant, because they want to use its strength in transport work. Miette falls bound in the harbor basin, but is saved by a crazy, underwater diver (Dominique Pinon) who collects everything indiscriminately. He forgot what used to be. He also no longer knows that he is the original from which the six clones came.

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A nightmare sent out by Irvin is received by both Miette and the diver and tells them where to find the island of the mad scientist. Then the diver thinks again that he created the monsters on the artificial platform and sets off to destroy his work.

Miette and One, who are also heading there, are stopped by the octopus in the harbor. The twin sisters attempt to kill the dissimilar couple, but are killed by Marcello themselves.

While the crazy diver prepares to blow up the island, Miette manages to free Denrée, who is being held prisoner by the sick. In the confusion, Ill dies, Mademoiselle Bismuth is stabbed and the Diver dies in the explosion he caused.

Like in her film debut "Delicatessen" tell Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro in “The City of the Lost Children” a grotesque fairy tale. The film is about nightmares and looks like a nightmare itself. The atmospherically dense, dark fantasy grotesque is about two heroes – the escape artist One and the orphan girl Miette – and a series of bizarre and evil fantasy characters. Once again, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro are characterized by originality, ingenuity and a jet black humor. The stylish look of the “City of Lost Children” is just as convincing. Incidentally, the costumes were designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Summary and review: © Dieter Wunderlich 2008


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