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Bursting with imagination and having seen her share of tragedy and fantasy, Amélie is not like the other girls. When she grows up she becomes a waitress in a Montmartre bar run by a former dancer. Amelie enjoys simple pleasures until she discovers that her goal in life is to help others. To that end, she invents all sorts of tricks that allow her to intervene incognito into other people's lives, including an imbibing concierge and her hypochondriac neighbor. But Amélie's most difficult case turns out to be Nino Quicampoix, a lonely sex shop employee who collects photos abandoned at coin-operated photobooths.
For more about Amélie and the Amélie Blu-ray release, see Amélie Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on December 9, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Yolande Moreau, Artus de Penguern, Urbain Cancelier
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
» See full cast & crew
Amélie Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, December 9, 2010
Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" a.k.a "Amelie" (2001) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Canadian distributors Alliance. The supplemental features on the disc include two audio commentaries with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet; Q & A sessions with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and cast members; various screen tests; outttake reel; conversation with Jean-Pierre Jeunet; TV spots and trailers; and more. In French, with imposed English subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Somewhere in the Montmartre district of Paris. Amelie (Audrey Tautou) leads an uneventful life. Often times, she finds herself drawn back to the childhood fantasy world she once shared with her father.
While watching a news report about Princess Diana's death, Amelie drops a bottle cap which trickles down and cracks loose a small stone in a wall of her room. In the tiny hole she finds a rusty box with "treasures". Intrigued by her discovery, Amelie decides to track down the owner of the box and give it back to him. The man, an overworked Parisian who has long forgotten about his once precious box, is amused when a piece of his childhood reappears. And so is Amelie. She has finally found something that would give meaning to her life - bringing happiness into other people's lives.
An amazing feast of colorful images, brilliant camerawork and spectacular acting, Jean-Pierre Jenuet's Amelie took the world by storm in 2001. Strong early reviews, unprecedented interest from various distributors around the globe, and a much publicized scandal revolving around the film's exclusion from the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival proved to be exactly the type of promotion Jenuet and Co. needed. The rest, of course, is history - Amelie went on to become one of the greatest exports French cinema has produced.
So what was Amelie's secret? The short answer is perfection. The longer answer would be the unparalleled imagination of Jeunet whose flashy visuals infused with a strong dose of Gallic sentimentality proved too irresistible for the crowds. The endless panoramic vistas from Montmartre complimented by the soothing melodies of Yann Tiersen also added a special flavor that effectively transformed Amelie into one delicious bonbon of a film everyone wanted to taste.
Amelie also had a spectacular cast -- Mathieu Kassovitz, the controversial director of La Haine (1995) and star of Assassin(s) (1997); Jamel Debbouze, who after Amelie would appear in Luc Besson's Angel-A (2005) and Rachid Bouchareb's Oscar-nominated Days of Glory (2006); Dominique Pinon, who had already appeared in Jeunet and Caro's Delicatessen (1991); Yolande Moreau from Philippe Galland's Merci mon chien (1999).
Technically, Amelie impresses primarily with its innovative camerawork. Various overshots, fast zooms, and CGI effects are used to create a dreamy Paris where anything and everything is possible. Amelie's repetitive charming bursts of quiet anger, which always get replaced by unbridled joy and satisfaction, are also filmed with an appropriate sense of balance.
Lastly, film editor Hervé Schneid, who would go on to work with Tautou on A Very Long Engagement (2004), made sure that Amelie never went overboard with the various enhancements. From the charming chase scenes between Tautou and Kassovitz to L'autre Valse d'Amelie, the film's beautiful leitmotif, everything is stylishly balanced and polished to perfection.
Note: In 2002, Amelie won a number of different awards, including four Cesar Awards for Best Film, Best Director (Jean-Pierre Jeunet), Best Music Written for a Film (Yann Tiersen), and Best Production Design (Aline Bonetto); BAFTA Film Awards for Best Screenplay – Original (Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet) and Best Production Design; and the Audience Choice Award at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Amélie Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Canadian distributors Alliance.
This new 1080p high-definition transfer represents a serious upgrade in terms of video quality over the 1080i high-definition transfer TVA Films used in 2008 for their Blu-ray release of Amelie. Fine object detail is very good, clarity substantially better, and contrast levels consistent throughout the entire film. The awkward softness from the 1080i transfer is completely gone - many of the beautiful close-ups now look sharp and well detailed, while the panoramic vistas from the train station convey very pleasing depth and tightness. I noticed a few traces of mild edge-enhancement but all of them were extremely easy to tolerate. I did not see any traces of heavy noise corrections. There are no serious stability issues to report in this review either. This being said, minor compressions artifacts occasionally pop up here and there; the larger your screen is, the easier it should be for some of you to spot them. There are a couple of scenes where I also noticed mild background flicker. Still, this is a very strong high-definition transfer that eliminates a lot of the serious issues that appeared on the old 1080i high-definition transfer TVA used for their Blu-ray release of Amelie. If you like the film, and require English-subtitles, do not hesitate to order this disc. You will not be disappointed with the presentation. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Amélie Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and French (Canadian) Dolby Digital 5.1. For the record, Alliance have provided imposed English subtitles for the main feature. They appear inside the image frame.
The French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is very strong. The bass is rich and well rounded, the surround channels very intelligently used, and the high-frequencies not overdone. The dialog is crisp, clear, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow. Also, there are no balance issues with Yann Tiersen's music score.
I still have the old TVA Films release of Amelie with me and was able to run a couple of quick comparisons. Something very interesting that I noticed is that the surround channels are more prominent on the Alliance disc. On the TVA Films disc everything sounds a lot more compact, lacking strong definition. The dynamic amplitude of the French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also marginally better. For the record, the English translation is very good.
Amélie Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Amélie Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Unlike the old Canadian Blu-ray release of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie, courtesy of TVA Films, this Blu-ray release, courtesy of Alliance, features a 1080p high-definition transfer and imposed English subtitles for the main feature. Considering the fact that a U.S. Blu-ray release of Amelie is very unlikely at this point (because of the ongoing restructuring at Miramax), the Alliance Blu-ray release comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Amélie: Other Editions
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