Discussion Board 2. “Amelie”

1) Discuss how time and space are represented in Amelie. The film is set in present-day Paris (or rather 1997, around the time of Princess Diana’s death), or is it? Discuss how the film mixes elements of modern life with a certain retro atmosphere and Amelie’s imaginary world. Why do you think it is important for the film’s narrative to send such mixed spatial and temporal messages? Can one say that the film offers a “timeless” setting? (consider the use of sepia tints, accordion music, and panoramic shots).

(2) Discuss the film’s genre (or, as your reading suggests, “genre hybridity”). As some of you mentioned in class, Amelie clearly contains significant elements of “a feel-good” melodrama, but, as you will see from the reading, defining this film as a comedic melodrama barely scratches the surface of a rather complex and difficult to categorize narrative. Discuss what other genres the film blends together and provide specific examples from the film. How does this knowledge of the complexity of the film’s genre contribute to your understanding of a seemingly simple “feel-good” movie?

(3) As your reading suggests, the use of sound effects (both diegetic and non-diegetic) is far more than decorative in the film. Discuss how the film’s soundtrack contributes to the construction of the Amelie‘s distinctive atmosphere. Give specific examples of several scenes where the use of diegetic sound is exceptionally clear or peculiarly distorted (if you wish to re-watch this film, consider watching a few scenes with your eyes closed, so you don’t get distracted by the visuals). How do the film’s sounds contribute to the creation of the overall fantasy / fairy-tale quality?

(4) Your reading argues that “Amelie rejects the superiority of classic art over popular culture” (p.72). Explain what the author meant by this statement and elaborate on this thought further.

(5) Discuss the use of color in the film. The reading “Something Old, Something New: Amélie’s Narrative” mentions the director’s fascination with contemporary paintings by a Brazilian artist Juarez Machado. What other influences on the film’s visual style does your reading discuss? How is this highly detailed and carefully orchestrated use of color central to the aesthetic originallity of Amelie? Give specific examples from the film.

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