From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Jean-Pierre Jeunet (born 3 September 1953) is a French film director. His films are idiosyncratic fantasies characterized by detailed sets and story-lines. His best-known work is the surreal romantic comedy Amélie.
Life and career
Jean-Pierre Jeunet was born in Roanne, Loire, France. He bought his first camera at the age of 17 and made short films while studying animation at Cinémation Studios. He befriended Marc Caro, a designer and comic book artist who became Jeunet's longtime collaborator and co-director.
Together, Jeunet and Caro directed award-winning animations. Their first live action film was The Bunker of the Last Gunshots (1981), a short film about soldiers in a bleak futuristic world. Jeunet also directed numerous advertisements and music videos.
Jeunet and Caro's first feature film was Delicatessen (1991), a black comedy set in a famine-plagued post-apocalyptic world, in which a block of flats above a delicatessen is ruled by a butcher who kills people in order to feed his tenants.
The success of The City of Lost Children led to an invitation to direct the fourth movie in the Alien series - Alien: Resurrection (1997). Like his subsequent films, this one is credited only to Jeunet, although Caro did some work on the art design. Though not well received by critics, Alien: Resurrection turned a profit at the box office.
Jeunet returned to France. The clout of having a Hollywood film under his belt gave him free rein on his next project, Amélie, starring Audrey Tautou. Amélie is lighter and more romantic than his previous films, a fact sometimes attributed to Caro's minimal participation. This story, about a girl who takes pleasure in doing good deeds but cannot find love herself was a huge commercial and box office success worldwide, and was nominated for several Academy Awards. For this film he also got an European Film Award for Best Director.
Jeunet seeks out actors with unusual faces for his films, and frequently uses wide-angle lenses to distort human features and sets.
Jeunet likes to work with the same team of filmmakers and repeatedly casts similar actors. His usual 'team' includes the following:
- Dominique Pinon has appeared in all five of Jeunet's feature-length films
- Rufus and Ticky Holgado appear in all of his feature-length films except Alien: Resurrection
- Ron Perlman appears in both City of Lost Children and Alien: Resurrection
- Audrey Tautou appears in both Amélie and A Very Long Engagement.
- Darius Khondji was the cinematographer on Delicatessen, City and Alien.
- Bruno Delbonnel was the cinematographer on Amelie and A Very Long Engagement.
- Hervé Schneid was the editor for all Jeunet's feature-length films
- Aline Bonetto was the production designer for Amélie and A Very Long Engagement.
- L'Évasion (1978; short; animated; with Marc Caro)
- Le Manege (1980; short; with Marc Caro)
- Le Bunker de la derniere rafale (1981; short; with Marc Caro)
- Pas de repos pour Billy Brakko (1984; short; animated)
- Foutaises (1989; short)
- Delicatessen (1991; with Marc Caro)
- La Cité des enfants perdus aka The City of Lost Children (1995; with Marc Caro)
- Alien: Resurrection (1997)
- Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain aka Amélie (2001)
- Un long dimanche de fiançailles aka A Very Long Engagement (2004)