The City of Lost Children
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|The City of Lost Children|
French release poster
|Directed by||Marc Caro
|Produced by||Félicie Dutertre|
|Written by||Gilles Adrien
|Music by||Angelo Badalamenti|
|Edited by||Ailo August
|Distributed by||Union Générale Cinématographique (France)
Concorde-Castle Rock/Turner (Germany)
Sony Pictures Classics (US)
The City of Lost Children (French: La cité des enfants perdus) is a 1995 French-German-Spanish science fantasy drama film directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Ron Perlman. The film is stylistically related to the previous and subsequent Jeunet films, Delicatessen and Amélie. The music score was composed by Angelo Badalamenti. It was entered into the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.
Krank (Daniel Emilfork), a demented scientist, kidnaps children from a port city to steal their dreams, as he is incapable of having his own. Among them is Denree (Joseph Lucien), the adopted little brother of carnival strongman and former whaler One (Ron Perlman), who sets out to rescue him. Assisting him is a little girl named Miette (Judith Vittet), a member of a thieves' guild of orphaned children. They delve into the world of a bio-mechanical cult and discover the connection between Krank and Denree.
Krank is both aided and hindered by his "family," a group of bioengineered beings created by an absent genius. They support themselves by supplying prosthetic eyes and ears to the cult, which believes the items can help them see a deeper reality. In return, the cult abducts children to be subjects for Krank's experiments. Krank uses a machine to steal children's dreams for himself. However, he does not understand that by kidnapping the children, he frightens them and causes them to have only nightmares, which are worthless to him.
Miette's guild hires One to help them steal a large safe. The theft is successful but the safe is lost in the harbor when One is distracted by seeing Denree's kidnappers. The guild orders circus performer Marcello (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) to return One to them. Marcello allows Miette to fall in the harbor and drown while rescuing One from the cult. Miette is rescued by an amnesiac diver living beneath the harbor, who bears resemblance to a group of clones in Krank's family.
After an accident revives Miette, she takes some valuables from the stolen safe and she leaves the diver's lair. She finds One and Marcello both drowning their sorrows in a bar. Upon seeing Miette alive, the remorseful Marcello lets One leave with her. A henchman uses Marcello's stolen mind control system to turn One against Miette; the smallest of actions has the largest of results in a spectacular chain of events leading to Marcello's revenge and the Octopus' demise instead, and One and Miette are freed to continue searching for Denree.
When a stolen dream escapes the rig, released by Irvin as a plea for help, it plants information in Miette's mind and restores some of the diver's memories, including how he once lived on the rig before he was attacked by Krank and Martha, and thrown into the sea. They all converge on the rig; the diver to destroy it and the duo to rescue Denree. Miette is almost killed by the duplicitous Martha before the diver arrives and shoots the dwarf in the back with a harpoon gun. Later, Miette is forced to enter a dream world to release Denree from the dream extracting machine, whilst the deranged but vengeful diver sets a time-bomb in the rig's laboratory and then straps himself and a large amount of dynamite to the legs of the rig. In the dream world, Miette meets Krank and makes a deal with him to replace Denree as the source of the dream; Krank fears a trap but plays along, believing himself to be in control. Miette then uses her imagination to control the dream and turn it into an infinite loop, destroying Krank's mind. Whilst One and Miette rescue all the children, the lab is destroyed and the diver happens to grab some billowing scientific papers, finally regaining his memory of who he really is – the "Original," the genius who created the rig-dwellers in the first place. He pleads for rescue from his remaining creations as the clones and Irvin row away in one boat, and One, Miette, and the lost children escape in another, just before a sea bird triggers the detonation of the explosives, killing the genius and destroying the rig.
- Ron Perlman as One
- Judith Vittet as Miette
- Daniel Emilfork as Krank
- Jean-Claude Dreyfus as Marcello
- Rufus as Peeler
- Dominique Pinon as the diver and the clones
- Joseph Lucien as Denree
- Mireille Mossé as Martha
- Serge Merlin as The Chief of the Cyclops
- Ticky Holgado as Ex-acrobat
- Marc Caro as Brother Ange-Joseph
- Lorella Cravotta as Woman
- Jean-Louis Trintignant (voice) as Uncle Irvin
- Mathieu Kassovitz (uncredited) as Man on the street
- Geneviève Brunet and Odile Mallet as the Octopus (French: la Pieuvre)
A video game based on the film was released in the United States and in parts of Europe for the PC first and then the PlayStation console. Players take on the role of Miette and confront puzzles in an adventure game format. On GameRankings the PC version holds a score of 60%, while the PlayStation version holds a score of 54.50%.
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