The City of Lost Children (1995)

Ron Perlman, Daniel Emilfork, Judith Vittet, Dominique Pinon,
La cité des enfants perdus is a movie starring Ron Perlman, Daniel Emilfork, and Judith Vittet. A scientist in a surrealist society kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process.
  • 7.5 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Gilles Adrien, Guillaume Laurant, Writer:
  • Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Director:
  • Félicie Dutertre, María Victoria Hebrero, Producer:


10 / 10

Beautiful and Viewtiful

I was given this film by a friend to watch. It first sight I was skeptical. It is now, by far, one of my favorite films of all time!

Visually it is unreal. I could simply turn off the sound and stare at it. Even watching the film in its native tongue is impressive. I wish more films would follow suit.

You rarely see American films with the mix of such heavy subjects tied with humor. Maybe some day someone will come along and mimic the feel and look of this film. We could only be so lucky!

Ron Perlman is very good in it as well as his sidekick..Miette. I was further impressed that Ron had to learn French just for the role. How many actors would do that, I ask?

I would suggest anyone who is a film buff to see this movie. It will change the way you look at cinema.

10 / 10

Beautiful, a Masterpiece. My favorite of all time. Not for the simple minded, or lazy.

This is a beautiful film, a surreal fairy tale, with a quite interesting metaphorical story. It might be necessary to be a bit of a linguist to fully understand all of the subtleties in this film, but even if you're not, you should be able to understand something deeper is going on besides a "weird" or "pretty" movie. The cinematography is brilliant, as is the music and acting. What is most fascinating is the writing- It takes a simple story and with subtle clues and symbols, tells another story.

Big Brother, (named One), is looking for little brother, Denree, after he has been kidnapped by the Cyclops. One and Miette (a street wise orphan) set off an an adventure to leads them to Krank (whose name means 'sick' in German). Krank and the Clones have been working closely with the Cyclops to kidnap children so Krank can steal their dreams.

If you are simple minded, stick to Hollywood action flicks where they spell everything out for you. If you enjoy thinking a bit, watch this movie. You'll be amazed at the clues and hints in the language, the characters names and events... (If you think 'One' and 'Krank' are weird names, start pulling out your dictionaries and looking up the others!) and how they are metaphorical for something else...

8 / 10

A dark fantasy from the maker of Delicatessan

The critics don't know what to make of this movie but give it a good rating anyway. Me, I definitely know what to make of this movie and consider it a masterpiece of film making. The French are very much the artists. They create the Eifiel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and the Cannes Film Festival. When it comes to making a movie, they know how to do it, and the City of Lost Children is one such movie.

The critics cannot seem to understand the plot, and that is probably because they are too stupid to see it. A scientist, Krank, cannot dream, so he kidnaps children and attempts to steal their dreams. Unfortunately the children cannot have good dreams so he ends up with nightmares which inevitably kill the children. A young boy, Dedree, is kidnapped by the Cyclops, a fanatical cult that have blinded themselves and wear an electronic eye, and is sold to the scientist. Dedree's big brother, One, seeks him but becomes embroiled in an Oliver Twist gang ring led by a siamese twin known as Octopus.

This is said to have been the most expensive French film ever made, and visually it shows it. The City of Lost Children is a movie which soars above the Hollywood blockbusters in visual masterpiece. The directors seem to have their own little quirks in here, like the snowball events. That is something happens which causes something else to happen, which ends up saving the heroes. The final one is a classic, where one tear ends up causing a ship to smash into a dock.

There are some visuals which call back images of Alien Resurrection, such as the babies in a survival tank. What is interesting is how most of the movie is green and that there is a lot of water. This is a contrast to Delicatessen which is yellow and very dry.

The City of Lost Children is a fantasy. It has the feel of a Jules Verne style of science fiction but it seems to be more of a future in the past. Rather that being critical of what should be and what should not be, we should just look at this as being in a realm somewhere between fantasy and reality.

4 / 10

Both Appealing And Unappealing

For someone who loves wild visuals, I should have loved this film, but I found it too far out and simply very unappealing.

Yes, it's visually stunning but the story is disjointed. to say the least. If a viewer - and I am not alone in this opinion - is almost totally lost as to what's going on for almost the entire film, you don't care after awhile. And when you don't care what's going on, you lose interest no matter how good the visuals are. At least, that's how I found this movie. Now I am judging this on the VHS version. Perhaps the DVD makes this so stunning that I wouldn't care about the story, just being entertained by the visuals....but I haven't seen it on disc yet so I don't have an answer to that. I do remember the characters being too grungy and no one being particularly likable.

The dubbing in here also was horrible. Hopefully, the DVD offers subtitles, instead. One reviewer here said to give this movie a second chance, and perhaps that's the answer. If I do, and like the film, I'll delete this review.

7 / 10

The City of Lost Children

Set in a strange dystopian society where children are disappearing. They are being taken by Crank; he believes that his inability to sleep, which causes him to age more rapidly, will be cured by harvesting the children's dreams. He lives aboard what looks like an oil rig along with a group of clones, a dwarf named Mademoiselle Bismuth and a disembodied brain that lives in a fish tank. They are all creations of a scientist who has disappeared. One day Crank's cyborg underlings kidnap Denree, the brother of One, a sideshow strongman. Shortly afterwards he teams up with orphan Miette (Crumb in the subtitles) and they set out to rescue Denree and the other stolen children.

This film is an utter delight with a surreal look and a cast of grotesque characters together with an enjoyable story. The world in which this is set has a distinct yellow/green look and none of the adult characters are exactly attractive in the Hollywood sense, this is helped by the way they are filmed. The villains are over-the-top strange making them more comic than scary. The story is enjoyably weird with plenty of tense moments, again these are done in a way that isn't overly frightening. The cast does an impressive job making their unbelievable characters believable; most notable are Ron Perlman, who plays One and young Judith Vittet who is a delight as Miette. Overall I'd definitely recommend this to anybody looking for something very different.

These comments are based on watching the film in French with English subtitles.