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Amélie - An Unconventional Take On Film Production

Critically-acclaimed , Amélie, follows the quirky and introverted character, Amélie Poulain (played by Audrey Tautou) and how she struggles to speak up for the things she wants all the while falling love with a collector of photographs, Nino Quincampoix (Mathieu Kassovitz). With her childhood suppressed by her father's mistaken concerns of a heart defect, Amélie gets hardly any real life contact with other people. Even in Amélie’s adult life, she lives in her own head, creating fictional stories for the different people she sees on the Parisian streets rather than directly interacting with anyone. After finding an item of the former occupant of her apartment, she decides to return it to him. Consuming herself with these escapades, she realizes that she is disregarding her own life and damaging her quest for love. Amélie then discovers she must become more aggressive and take a hold of her life and capture the beauty of love she has always dreamed of.

The riveting plot of this film is met with phenomenal production design. Set on the Parisian streets of the 80’s, Amélie jumps timeframes within the movie as well as locations. However, the particular design of Amélie’s apartment is filled with a variety of vibrant warm colors: red and orange tones of the walls give off a surprising homey feeling. A quirky apartment for a quirky character, the thoughtful costume design fits all the characters throughout their time periods - complementing other characters in the scene as well as contrasting against the setting. Lighting plays a critical role in the storytelling as well. For example, from the beginning of the scene L’amour, the difference in the darker lighting during one of Amélie’s anxious and fictitious episodes is juxtaposed when Nino enters the scene reflected in the warm lighting for the heartwarming moment.

Finally, the biggest production storytelling tool is unusual to filmmaking: spacial. The shots are constantly changing from close ups to wide shots within a matter of seconds, creating an unconventional experience for the viewer. The space between Amélie and Nino changes drastically throughout the film but symbolically in the ending scenes, the space between them begins to close. This literal physical bridge between the two characters that was developed along the way through the other scenes is presented beautifully in the final scene. The entirety of the film has so much depth and detail in the design and production aspects of it with underlying messages that the viewer may not pick them all up right off the bat. Due to the strange and sometimes confusing nature of the film itself, the biggest film analysis is going into the movie understanding the messages of the story: the ways in which Amélie was produced speaks louder than the lines of the actors.

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