Midnight Court Film Society
Midnight Court Film Society

Home Services Contact

Oct-Dec 2010 Screenings

Fri 8 Oct 2010
(Mic Macs - A Tire L'Arigot)

Fri 22 Oct 2010
His and Hers

Fri 5 Nov 2010
Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The
(Män som hatar kvinnor)

Fri 19 Nov 2010
Last Night As I Lay Dreaming
(A tribute to Robbie McMahon of SpancilHill)

Fri 3 Dec 2010

Fri 17 Dec 2010
The Snowman

(Mic Macs - A Tire L'Arigot)

2010 - Jean-Pierre Jeunet - 1 hr 40 mins - France

Fri 8 Oct 2010 at 8.30 p.m.
MacNamaras Pub, Scarriff

Midnight Court Rating: 4.0 (1 votes)

Cast: Dany Boon, Andre Dussolier, Nicolas Marie, Yolande Moreau, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Julie Ferrier

Storyline: Fans of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's utterly beguiling Amelie will recognise the moment in Micmacs when, at his father's funeral, young Bazil is given a box of personal effects that include bits of the landmine that killed his dad. Years later, in the street one day, the grown-up Bazil recognises the logo of the company that made the landmine. Coincidentally, it's the same company that manufactured the stray bullet that accidentally shot him in the head as he was standing in the door of his video-rentals shop one day, reciting the dialogue of The Big Sleep. The bullet has remained inoperably embedded in his skull and could still kill him at any moment. There in the Paris street, he resolves to take his revenge on the arms dealers whose products totalled his old man and speared his cerebellum. Amelie, the titular heroine of Amelie, also came upon a box of personal curiosities one day, the childish belongings of a complete stranger, in a hole behind one of the tiles in her bathroom. Finding it inspired her to set out on a quest to find the owner and return his missing childhood, as part of her project to do good works for everyone she meets. Two quests, from two cabinets of curiosities. It's tempting to characterise Jeunet's films as being themselves boxes of tricks, in which random props, heterogenous ideas, mix-and-match genres, bits of film history, allusions and snatches of music are thrown together, to be rummaged through and picked out again by their capricious owner. If that makes him sound like a clever schoolboy, there's some truth in it. In an interview, he admitted that Toy Story and Mission Impossible are potent influences on his new film, which pitches an awkward gang of freakish pals against a massive corporate machine. It's conducted along slightly childish lines: the Secret Seven takes on the Military-Industrial Complex. Bazil, unemployed and on the street, is taken up by a bearded ex-convict who introduces him to a family of secondhand dealers who live in a kind of metallic Ali Baba cave on a rubbish dump and exist by salvaging. There's Mama Chow (Yolande Moreau) who lost both her daughters in the hall of mirrors at a fair one day, and now mothers everyone; Elastic Girl, a blonde contortionist who sleeps in the fridge; Remington, a Congolese ethnographer who types all day and speaks entirely in French proverbs; Calculette, an idiot-savant girl with a tiny head, huge eyes and the ability to compute sizes, distances and sounds; Buster (Dominique Pinon, a Jeunet regular) who holds the world record for being a human cannonball... You get the idea. Somewhere between Tod Browning's vengeful freaks in Freaks and the cast of TV's Hustle, this band of brothers mimics the conventions of filmic superheroes to outwit the arms dealers. They each have useful powers, but their ensemble scenes are played for laughs rather than logic. At an airport, they employ African robes, salami, a razor and a suitcase with a secret trapdoor to have an African dictator's henchman framed for drugs. At the arms dealers' headquarters, they use microphones, a vacuum cleaner and the contortionist in a box to steal the chairman's collection of celebrity body parts, including Churchill's nail clippings, while the man in charge of security CCTV is distracted by the sight of the sexual contortions at a neighbouring window. This may strike you as too wacky and zany to be funny, and there are indeed moments when the French sense of humour is lost on les Anglais. But Jeunet's imagination skips about with such alacrity, it's hard to resist. His pacing is fantastic. Little jokes whizz past you all the time, in the style of Wallace and Gromit. As his characters motor down a road beside the Seine, they pass an advertisement for the film they're in, a still of the moment you're watching. When Bazil tries to stop himself falling asleep by thinking of money, a section of his brain chatters with a cascade of cash. The digital special effects jostle with real-life special effects – such as the scrap-metal cave in which the secondhand dealers live, or the outburst of complex finger-clickings in which Bazil indulges, like a hip-hop prestidigitator or a fond uncle, to amuse the local kids. Dany Boon, who plays Bazil, is an extraordinary actor. He started life as a mime and currently stars in the biggest thing on French TV, Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis. He goes in for weird, untranslatable vocalisations and a repertoire of shrugs and facial contortions that I took to be entirely Gallic until – a eureka moment – I realised he was doing Charlie Chaplin. Picture the scene in The Gold Rush when Chaplin makes two potatoes dance with the aid of forks and you have le style Dany Boon: whimsical, cute and just slightly slappable. His burgeoning romance with the elastic contortionist – who complains that, for him, she exists somewhere between a freak and a tomboy – has a lot of Chaplin about it too. Jeunet is a master of comic-strip filming, the kind we associate with the Coen brothers of Raising Arizona or The Big Lebowski, and with the Terry Gilliam of Brazil or Baron Munchausen. Nobody beats him for sheer comic inventiveness and the speed with which he whips ideas into crazy reality. The only problem with his approach is that black humour clearly isn't enough for him. For all its comic genius, Micmacs also tries to achieve a comic pathos that sometimes seems a substitute for genuine feeling. All the ingenious metal inventions, the freakish physical bending and stretching, the juvenile trickery, achieve diminishing returns. When, at the end, an old inventor shows us a little frock being made to dance by twirling a hanger, we may be forgiven for thinking, "Yes yes, very sweet, very cute, but what's happened to the story?" Otherwise, it's a crazy Gallic ride. – John Walsh, The Independent

Genre: Comedy

Verdicts from the Midnight Court

Previous Screenings

Fri 10 Jun 2005

Fri 3 Jun 2005
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

Fri 27 May 2005
Since Otar Left

Fri 20 May 2005
Old Boy

Fri 13 May 2005
The Motorcycle Diaries

Fri 6 May 2005
The Return

Fri 29 Apr 2005

Fri 22 Apr 2005

Fri 15 Apr 2005
American Splendor

Sat 9 Apr 2005
Ae Fond Kiss

Sat 12 Mar 2005
EXTRA The Story of the Weeping Camel

Fri 11 Mar 2005
The Story of the Weeping Camel

Fri 25 Feb 2005
Fahrenheit 9/11

Fri 11 Feb 2005
Bad Education

Fri 28 Jan 2005
The Station Agent

Thu 13 Jan 2005
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring

Fri 10 Dec 2004
Lost In Translation

Fri 3 Dec 2004
(Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself)

Fri 26 Nov 2004

Fri 19 Nov 2004
Raising Victor Vargas

Fri 12 Nov 2004
Far From Heaven

Fri 5 Nov 2004
Together With You

Fri 29 Oct 2004
Capturing The Friedmans

Fri 22 Oct 2004
Goodbye Lenin

Fri 15 Oct 2004
Mother, The

Fri 8 Oct 2004

Fri 1 Oct 2004
Death In Venice
(Morte a Venezia)

Fri 24 Sep 2004
Noi Albinoi

Fri 17 Sep 2004
Barbarian Invasions
(Les Invasions Barbares)

Fri 10 Sep 2004
Amandla ! A revolution in 4 part harmony

Fri 12 Dec 2003
City Of God (2)

Fri 28 Nov 2003
8 Women

Fri 14 Nov 2003
Nine Queens

Sat 1 Nov 2003
Documentary festival

Fri 17 Oct 2003
Divine Intervention

Fri 3 Oct 2003
Talk To Her

Fri 19 Sep 2003
Italian For Beginners

Fri 4 Apr 2003
No Mans Land

Fri 21 Mar 2003
Sex and Lucia
(Lucia Y El Sexo)

Fri 7 Mar 2003
Divided We Fall

Fri 7 Feb 2003
The Closet
(Le Placard)

Fri 24 Jan 2003
Salaam Bombay

Fri 10 Jan 2003
Y Tu Mama Tambien
(And Your Mother Too)

Fri 13 Dec 2002
Lagaan, Once Upon A Time In India

Fri 29 Nov 2002
George Washington

Fri 15 Nov 2002
The Taste of Others
(Le Goût Des Autres)

Fri 1 Nov 2002
The Devil's Backbone
(El Espinazo del Diablo)

Fri 18 Oct 2002
The Princess and The Warrior

Fri 4 Oct 2002
Aimée et Jaguar

Fri 20 Sep 2002

Fri 6 Sep 2002
Monsoon Wedding

Wed 29 May 2002

Fri 22 Mar 2002

Fri 8 Mar 2002
Tears of the Black Tiger

Fri 22 Feb 2002

Fri 25 Jan 2002
The Dish

Fri 18 Jan 2002

Thu 16 Dec 1999
Antonia’s Line

Thu 9 Dec 1999
Feng Yue
(Temptress Moon)

Thu 25 Nov 1999
Life is Beautiful

Thu 11 Nov 1999
The Sweet Hereafter

Thu 28 Oct 1999
Short Cuts

Thu 14 Oct 1999