This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

18Aug/14

FRONT/ROW CINEMA: AMÉLIE

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s AMÉLIE is one of the most charming films of the new century

SEE/CHANGE: LA FABULEUX DESTIN d’AMÉLIE POULAIN (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)
South Street Seaport
Corner of Front & Fulton Sts.
Thursday, August 20, free, 8:00
www.southstreetseaport.com

In Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s wildly inventive romantic comedy, Audrey Tautou plays one of the most delightful, charming characters since, well, dare we say it? Audrey Hepburn, especially from Roman Holiday. Everybody in this film is nuts; Amélíe wanders — always with some strange, curious purpose — through offbeat and humorous situations filled with obsessive-compulsive oddballs doing bizarre things while sharing their crazy likes and dislikes with the audience. A difficult childhood left the grown-up Amélíe unable to interact “normally” with people, so when she discovers a boy’s treasure box hidden in her apartment, she decides to track down the owner, leading to a series of very complex and emotional good deeds she does for others while she cannot figure out her own life, which undergoes a major change when she meets Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz) — who collects ripped-up pictures people throw out after using public photo booths — and becomes friendly with the Glass Man (Serge Merlin), who cannot go outside because his bones are too brittle, so he remains in his apartment, copying the same Renoir painting year after year, unable to capture one girl’s face properly. Jeunet’s aural and visual style is reminiscent of such Coen brothers films as Raising Arizona, with fast-moving shots, sudden close-ups, and blasts of sound that enliven this masterful film. Amélíe is screening August 20 as part of the South Street Seaport “Front/Row Cinema: See/Change” series, which continues Wednesday and Saturday nights through August 31. For a day-by-day listing of free summer movie screenings throughout New York City, go here.

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