Why Alicia Malone adores… AMELIE

3 Jun

Welcome, one and all, to this week’s edition of WHY I ADORE…! Firstly, I’d just like to thank everybody who has contributed unabashedly affectionate articles to the blog so far — Simon Miraudo, Lee Zachariah, Ahren Morris and this week’s guest, whom I’ll introduce in a moment — and all who have passed on their compliments, comments and intentions to pen future entries: it’s all massively appreciated. Without your appreciation and interest, we’d just be another lonely overuse of bandwidth, but with you, we’re a real haven away from the negativity of the internet that’s so popular with the kids (and jaded adults!) these days. Okay, enough prattling from your host, and more of what you’re here for: expressions of love for the film and television gems that capture our imaginations and keep us coming back for more, heart undaunted.

Today’s Adorer is none other than ALICIA MALONE, a TV presenter, movie reviewer and chocolate fiend who can make a genuine claim to the throne of Queen of All Media, as she can be seen/heard on Pay TV, hosting PREMIERE on FOXTEL’s Movie Network Channels; on free-to-air, talking movies on Channel 9’s The Morning Show; on radio, on Triple M drive and Mix FM breakfast; via the interwebs, on SCREENER on whatsplaying.com.au and her always fabulous Twitter musings; in print, in Filmink Magazine AND — so I’ve heard — occasionally performing the Single Ladies dance in front of strangers at parties. (Where does she find the time??)

Today, Alicia lets us in on her love affair with Paris, where she’s traveling to soon to study writing, see the sights and, perhaps, discover her own “fabuleux destin”…

My first blog for WHY I ADORE… (or “POURQUOI J’ADORE…” in this case) is dedicated to one of my favourite films, the French movie AMELIE. Now, before you roll your eyes and think, “oh, she’s just trying to sound all arty with her subtitle-y choice”, let me assure you: my love for this film started long before it was considered ‘cool’ to like it. I first saw AMELIE when it was released in 2001. And I can honestly say that something changed inside me between when I walked into the cinema, to when I walked out of it.

I fell in love with AMELIE as soon as the film kicked off with the quirky introduction to her parents. Amelie’s mother likes ice skater’s costumes, but dislikes sheet marks on her face in the morning and, probably, suiciding tourists falling on her head.

And just like Amelie, when I looked back at the faces watching the film I saw my same expression of wonder reflected back at me, as we were all dragged into her wonderful world.

The gorgeous Audrey Tautou plays the grown-up Amelie, an outsider and dreamer, working at “Les Deux-Moulins” café in Paris. When she discovers an old box filled with childhood trinkets hidden in her bathroom, Amelie decides to track down the owner and return the precious memories. Her good deed fills her with a huge sense of satisfaction, so she starts to invent all sorts of quirky plots to help people, and occasionally seek revenge.

But there’s still one thing missing in Amelie’s life…romance. And though she’s a great matchmaker for others, she can’t quite bring herself to take the leap and face the man of her dreams – the mysterious Nino, who rescues ripped up photo booth snaps and tapes them back together.

My favourite scene is when Amelie can’t quite bring herself to say hello to Nino when he comes to meet her at the café. When he leaves, she turns into water, melting and spilling onto the floor. I think we can all relate to that feeling! It’s that terrible moment of being scared to take a chance with love. You could find everything you’ve dreamed of, but then you very well could have your heart smashed into a million pieces!

AMELIE is a fairytale of sorts, with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet injecting an energetic sense of magic to the story (a ‘joie de vivre’, if that’s not too wanky to say…)

I love all the little details of Jeunet’s strange characters, as well as the distinctive look of the film – the rich grading, the different editing techniques and the wonderful short fantasy sequences. And of course, the film wouldn’t have been the same without Audrey Tautou; her beautiful elfin face and big eyes convey so much, you don’t need to read the subtitles to know what she’s feeling.

I’m not sure what it was, but something inside me changed after seeing AMELIE. I walked out of the cinema and felt an overwhelming love for French film, a desire to try and help people, find love, embrace my own quirkiness and visit Paris. And in July, I finally get that chance. The first place I am going? To Les Deux-Moulins, the café where Amelie worked. And I will have a crème brulee, enjoy cracking the top with my spoon, and search for my own photo booth man.

– Alicia Malone


8 Responses to “Why Alicia Malone adores… AMELIE”

  1. Simon Miraudo June 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    I’m not tooo crazy about Amelie, but it is one of my girlfriend’s favourite movies too, so who am I to argue?

    But yes, the crème brulee in this movie looks delicious.

    Nice work Leash (and you too Paul)!

    • Frank Bubblo June 10, 2010 at 11:22 pm #

      You should feel this movie avec votre coeur, pas avec votre estomach!

  2. Tim Egan June 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    It’s become popular these days to put this film down for reasons I can’t understand. A sumptuous and unashamedly romantic movie just perfectly done. Ah paris.

    • Frank Bubblo June 10, 2010 at 11:24 pm #

      testosterone gets in the way of most male citics

  3. joel June 3, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    To me, the greatest thing about this wonderful film is being taken for a crazy ride on every one of Amelie’s impulsively fantastical wave of thoughts. With the possible exception of Adaptation, I can’t think of a better use of a narrator in the history of cinema. My favorite one: “Nino is late. Amelie can only see two explanations. 1 – he didn’t get the photo. 2 – before he could assemble it, a gang of bank robbers took him hostage. The cops gave chase. They got away… but he caused a crash. When he came to, he’d lost his memory. An ex-con picked him up, mistook him for a fugitive, and shipped him to Istanbul. There he met some Afghan raiders who took him to steal some Russian warheads. But their truck hit a mine in Tajikistan. He survived, took to the hills, and became a Mujaheddin. Amelie refuses to get upset for a guy who’ll eat borscht all his life in a hat like a tea cozy.”

    • Frank Bubblo June 10, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

      Does anyone feel that Audrey Tautou has the ability to make you become the character, and you actually become part of the movie?

  4. Glenn June 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    Love that movie too. I also had to visit the Two Windmills when I was in Paris. Will never get sick of watching this film.

  5. Thomas Caldwell June 11, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    It’s easily one of the best films from the 2000s. Lovely piece Alicia! But when you are in Paris just be warned that some of the locals respond to Amelie in a similar way to how many Australians respond to Crocodile Dundee! That was my experience anyway but I suspect they all secretly loved it as much as the rest of us – how can you not?

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