Creatively combining genres – post-apocalyptic sci-fi, black comedy and sweet romance – and offering audiences an impressively oddball collection of sounds, colours, actors and images, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro’s inspired film Delicatessen was the recipient of several European awards and anticipated the pair’s subsequent collaboration, The City of Lost Children (1995).
Jeunet would go on to direct Alien: Resurrection in 1997, which was followed with the international blockbuster Amélie in 2001.
The movie boasts an unforgettable opening: a mysterious figure covered from head to toe in an outfit made entirely of trash anxiously attempts to sneak away from a deli in a garbage truck.
Suddenly the lid to his can of freedom is violently ripped open and the menacing butcher-in-charge (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) brings a huge meat cleaver down upon him.
We soon learn that the butcher’s speciality is human flesh, and once his new employee – the saw-playing ex-clown Louison (a beautifully smush-faced Dominique Pinon) – falls for his bespectacled cellist daughter, Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac), the race to make Louison the special of the day is on.
To save her clown boyfriend from her cannibal dad, Julie betrays the latter to a group of lentil-eating rebels who live underground.
With an eccentric screenplay by comic book writer Gilles Adrien and a number of darkly humorous set pieces, Delicatessen is a feast for the eyes and ears.