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The City of Lost Children (1995)

Briac Barthelemy , Guillaume Billod-Morel , Marc Caro , Jean-Pierre Jeunet  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Briac Barthelemy, Guillaume Billod-Morel, Geneviève Brunet, Marc Caro, Jean-Claude Dreyfus
  • Directors: Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Black & White, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 1999
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000K3TS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,061 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The City of Lost Children" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Costume Design Gallery
  • Production Sketch Gallery

Editorial Reviews

One of the most unique and visually stunning films in years, The City of Lost Children concerns a malevolent scientist who attempts to unlock the mystery of dreaming. To this end, he kidnaps young children and studies them as they sleep. From Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of Amelie and Alien: Resurrection.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
179 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and Daunting February 15, 2003
Format:DVD
If you were to combine elements of Fritz Lang, Carl Jung, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Jean Cocteau, the Brothers Quay, Ken Russel and Edgar Varese, you might approximate what Caro, Jeunet and company have created.
These creative geniuses take you the audience into the innermost and darkest recesses of your Freudian Id. It is a place where nightmares of the most disturbing order reside, a place, as the movie's tag line promises, "Where happily ever after is just a dream."
If you can't figure out what is going on, it's OK. The lead actor, Ron Perlman, admits in the director/actor voice-over that is included as a DVD extra, that he didn't have a clue what Jeunet was up to the entire time they were filming. Jeunet, in fact wanted to keep his cast unsettled and in the dark, and a dark place it is indeed.
One aspect of the film that is particularly unsettling involves a scene in which several of the very young cast members are almost frightened to death by the grotesque-looking Krank (Daniel Emilfork) dressed in a Santa costume, along with one of his clone henchmen/brothers, (le scaphandrier/les clones) played by the late Dominique Pinon. Then again, on the director's voice-over, Jeunet reveals he had to cut a scene from an early segment in the movie, because the kid involved became "too frightened." I don't know if I, for one, could have handled that one, even for the sake of art.
This is obviously not a kid's fairy tale, nor is it a kid's movie. It's a genuine nightmare, but not without its share of Grand Guignol humor. All the villains, and even the hero, One, (Ron Perlman in another highly idiosyncratic role), are groteques. The only characters approaching normal are the children.
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80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, Alien Resurrection & Amelie) and his 1992 directing sidekick from Delicatessen, Marc Caro brings the dark, dank, rat-infested "City Of Lost Children" to life! All with the likes of one side-show travelling troupe strong-man, Mr. One played excellently by Beauty & The Beast's Ron Perlman, evil, pilfering, child corruptors and Fagin-like Siamese sisters joined by a third leg affectionately referred to as "The Octopus", and a manmade man who lacks the ability to dream called Krank who kidnaps the toddlers and smallchildren of the fictional city to hook them up to weird and wild machines, all to steal their dreams and make them his own.

Mix these colorful characters in with a band of homeless, criminal children a la Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist style, pet fleas that inject drugs, a talking brain in a tank named Uncle Irvin, a midget named Mademoiselle Bismuth and her six cloned sons, and finally a group of blind people called Cyclops who eat children and you have a marvelous mixture of fantasy, horror, sci-fi, comedy, action & adventure all rolled into one strangely odd film.

The visual effects are stunning and the costumes by Jean Paul Gauthier are breathtaking. The young, Judith Vittet turns in an especially wonderful performance as Ron Perlman's sidekick and heroine of the story, Miette! Incidentally, Ron Perlman was the only American in the cast and spoke all of his french lines expertly!

This film is subtitled in English or you may choose to listen to the English dubbed version on the menu of available audio tracks.

I highly recommend this film! I have never seen anything like it before!

Happy Watching!
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 Star Film, Flawed DVD March 13, 2003
Format:DVD
this is one of my favorite films of all time. it has a fascinating, intricate and detailed story, and a huge cast of characters and ideas. the film presents a dreamworld in which nothing is as it seems. a mysterious cult insists that followers blind themselves to see the truth. some children have adult personalities, and some adults have childlike personalities. a mad scientist operates a sinister laboratory on a platform in the city's bay. children from the city are disappearing, and the answer to these mysteries is so exquisitely, uniquely and poignantly rendered that i observed people emerging from the theatre with tears in their eyes. if only i had brought an eyedropper, i found myself thinking...
that said, if the viewer does not pay very close attention, they may lose the plot thread and will say the film makes no sense, or is boring. note also that it will not answer every question for you. some aspects are indeed left enigmatic. pay very close attention as you watch. be sure to watch the letterbox version, and select the original french language with subtitles.
as far as the dvd is concerned, it looks good, but still i was disappointed. having seen the film in the theatre three times, i was fairly well acqainted with its english translation. in the theatre, the translation may not have been perfect, but it serves the film well enough. for the home video release, an incompetent english dub was created, that seems to place matching the movements of the actors' mouths above providing a faithful translation. the english voice performances are inferior, and some aspects of the dialogue are clouded.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Never to late to learn something new
Very interesting reading.
Published 4 days ago by Alice Pockalny
5.0 out of 5 stars I am not into horror movies, but this one ...
I am not into horror movies, but this one held my interest as being so different and not all that gory.
Published 5 days ago by Frank Vollhardt
5.0 out of 5 stars I watch a lot of foreign films and this my favorite one by far
Very steam punk french. I watch a lot of foreign films and this my favorite one by far. I would suggest it to anyone. Watch it in original language. Totally worth it!
Published 1 month ago by Anthony Young
1.0 out of 5 stars JAPAN BLU-RAY ONLY. This is not a film review.
This Region A1 release, with all it brings to the film in the form of visuals and sound improvement in the form of a 5.1 French track, does not have English subtitles. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rachel Holland
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect example of French Impressionist Cinema
A perfect example of French Impressionist Cinema. The visuals are stunning, the child actors put on a beautiful performance, and the story is absolutely fantastical. Read more
Published 2 months ago by IneffableEllie
5.0 out of 5 stars creepily fun
when you have a strong man, a flosting head in a jar, a clever girl and burping little boy you have a pretty good story, but throw in some villains who are kid-napping, tubes and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by will crow
5.0 out of 5 stars Plot, Shplot -- THIS is a mind-trip!
This is a wonderful movie for anyone who likes dark, surreal steampunk with a heavy dose of what-the-heck-was-that movie making. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Brian Driver
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal and enchanting
This film is one that you have to watch. You can't do something else, you can't half pay attention. You will want to get every nuance, every tiny little bit of it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sarah T
1.0 out of 5 stars Stupid scifi
It did not hold my interest.

I thought it was boring.

I usually like foreign movies but this was not one of them.
Published 5 months ago by Happy r/c
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly inventive
A dark, bizarre fairy-tale, definitely not for children. This is another of those movies that defies description (attempts will only make it more confusing). Read more
Published 5 months ago by Douglas Millhoff
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