Cannibalism just for laughs

Wednesday, March 11, 1992

Cannibalism just for laughs

Delicatessen
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro
Screenplay by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro and Gilles Adrien
Starring Julie Clapet, Dominique Pinon and Jean-Claude Dreyfuss
Reviewed by Ulrike Erhardt

Believe it or not, watching people indulge in cannibalism can be wickedly funny. And even though this is the whole story-line of Delicatessen, the characters have it and outdo any well-plotted movie with meagre characters.

Delicatessen is a sign swinging lost outside a butcher shop in the middle of a vacant lot which is inhabited by some rather strange people. It is set in the not too distant future, when people live life in the extreme.

Louison the clown is making beautiful music with Julie on a musical saw. Femininity in the form of Miss Plusse, the butcher's girlfriend, is having its ups and downs, as is the male gender, represented by the Kube brothers. They manufacture useless but entertaining objects and spread their playful insanity in other ways too.

Snobbish Mrs Interligator knows how to bring excitement back into her life: she chooses varying methods of suicide as an outlet for her creativity. A mother is forever worried about feeding herself and her brood, while her useless husband will sell their grandmother if need be.

Down in the sewers live the rebel vegetarians. When they lose one of their number, we feel sorry for him because he is such a meaty dish.

Bizarre and outrageous, Delicatessen is so cleverly scripted and eerily shot that it could be a cult film in the making. It's a feast for the eye, where everyone receives what they dish out. Lots of giggles because this is nightmarish humour at its best.

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