After years of working successfully in commercials and music videos, French directors Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet make a splashing feature-film debut, DELICATESSEN, a hysterical exercise in style. Scripted by comic book writer and frequent Caro and Jeunet collaborator Gilles Adrien, the story follows a sweet-natured clown, Louison (Dominique Pinon), who moves into a run down apartment building with a delicatessen on the ground floor and falls in love with the butcher's daughter, Julie Clapet (Marie-Laure Dougnac). When it turns out that Julie's father (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) is actually butchering human beings and selling the meat to the carnivorous tenants of the building, Julie must decide if she will remain loyal to her father's business or expose the truth in order to save Louison from being the next victim. Taking place entirely inside, underneath, and on the roof of the delicatessen, the film uses an old pipe that runs throughout the building as a channel of communication for its characters.
Caro and Jeunet have a flair for visual communication and comedy that overflows in DELICATESSEN, keeping viewers engaged in the film even when the style seems to swallow the plot. In one of the most mimicked scenes of the 1990s (most notably in commercials), the directors brilliantly choreograph a bizarre event in which the separate activities of each of the hotel's tenants--a couple making love in a squeaky bed, a man painting his ceiling, a woman playing the cello--become hilariously rhythmic and synchronized. This scene spawned an entirely new cinematic language, making DELICATESSEN one of the most auspicious directorial debuts of the '90s.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet - French director, AMELIE
Jean-Claude Dreyfus - French Actor
Howard Vernon - Actor/"Bob Le Flambeur"
Karin Viard - Actress/"Separation"
Jacques Mathou - Actor/"Year Of The Comet"
Marc Caro - Director/Screenwriter
Dominique Pinon - French Actor - "Delicatessen"
Anne Marie Pisan
Ticky Holgado - Actor/"Les Miserables"
For Parisians living in the 21st Century, a severe food shortage means either you eat dinner, or you are dinner. Profit-hungry butchers have taken to slicing up tenants and selling them as choice loin. Fortunately, a few quirky locals have devised furtive ways to survive in a world plagued by suspicion, famine, and cannibalism.
Released theatrically: April, 1992. Shot on location in France.
"...A stylishly surreal comedy..." - 04/16/1992 Rolling Stone, p.93
"...The endless small observations and visual conjuring tricks keep it buoyant throughout..." - 01/01/1992 Sight and Sound, p.41-2
"...Its Guignol roominghouse is an undeniably entertaining place to visit..." - 11/01/1991 Film Comment, p.50-3
"...DELICATESSEN is a fearsomely intense movie that mixes moods with formidable assurance....It's loaded with horrific images and macabre jolts that keep resonating eerily in your mind's eye..." - 04/10/1992 Los Angeles Times, p.F14
"...DELICATESSEN creates a rich visual landscape for its oddly compelling characters....Each scene seems to contain some visual surprise..." - 04/17/1992 Chicago Sun-Times, p.38
"Filmed at odd angles and in tinted amber....[An] absurdist comedy..." -- Grade: B - 04/28/2006 Entertainment Weekly, p.123
"[The] picture has a fantastic look that is both eerie and surreal. The color palette tends to have tobacco overtones that enhance the post-apocalyptic setting." - 05/01/2006 Widescreen Review, p.72
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "It would seem impossible that a French comedy about cannibalism could be both funny and touchingly sweet, but that is the accomplishment of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro's DELICATESSEN." - 07/01/2006 Premiere, p.107
5 stars out of 5 -- "It's a unique blend of physical gags, rhythmic sequences and surreal goings-on..." - 07/01/2006 Ultimate DVD, p.99
4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's a mahogany-black fairytale of intricately wrought folly." - 10/01/2010 Total Film