“Delicatessen (1991)” has cannibal butchers!

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The creators of quirky, romcom, “Amelie,” are behind the strange, off-kilter, and obnoxiously French, “Delicatessen.” Kitsch dystopia meets surrealist cannibalism.

Delicatessen (1991)

Director: Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Writers: Gilles Adrien, Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Starring: Marie-Laure Dougnac, Dominique Pinon, Pascal Benezech

What an usual treat Delicatessen (1991) is! It was directed/created by the same minds behind the movie, “Amelie,” starring Audrey Tatou. The same quirky humor I enjoyed in “Amelie” take a dark, dystopian twist in Delicatessen. The story takes place in a French town where food is scarce and the only available currency is corn and meat. To feed themselves, the townpeople put out ads for handymen and then eat him after a week. The butcher is responsible for killing the handymen, and while the townsfolk feel bad about the grisly scheme they say nothing in fear of the maniacal butcher chopping them up into pieces, too! The butcher’s daughter falls in love with one of the poor handymen and joins an revolutionary society of corn-eating lunatics deep in the sewer systems to thwart her father before the handyman is butchered.

The story isn’t as enjoyable as the characters and surreal cinematography. The acting is dry, witty and obnoxiously French. I loved the Troglodyte sewer people and their pantry-raids in the butcher’s kitchen for his corn. I loved the character who thinks she’s hearing voices and her failed, often comical, attempts to commit suicide. I loved the butcher’s daughter’s sleeping herbs, the handyman’s chimpanzee, the frogs and snails, and everything else. This isn’t a movie that takes itself seriously, and if you love surreal, zany plots, with dark humor, I recommend Delicatessen. Watch it in French with English subtitles. There are many free, online videos to choose from, but I watched it HERE.

I’m giving it a B+.

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RIP H.R. Giger :(

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For those who don’t already know, H.R. Giger died last month after an unfortunate accident in his home. Giger created the character designs and landscapes in Ridley Scott’s blockbuster Alien movie franchise. His famous biomechanical art in Necronomicon, is said to be the inspiration behind the Alien films. This New York Times article explains all the details about his death HERE. However I don’t want to talk about H. R. Giger’s death. I want to take a moment to celebrate the amazing work and life of this artist.

H. R. Giger did so much more than just work on the Alien movies. In addition to being an artist, he was also a sculptor and furniture designer, whose works can be seen in his museum. Despite gaining success, Giger is still a misunderstood figure. The art community never gave him his due, demeaning his work by shelving it under “pornographic kitsch.” If all you can see when you look at H. R. Giger’s art are penises, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. Look at his writhing landscapes more closely. Observe how he weaves intricate detailing with phantasmal surrealism. Heavy, dark colors play up his muted highlights, which gives his work an almost metallic appearance. He combines metal with flesh with alien and yet familiar forms. The fact many of his creatures are in the act of foreplay or copulation only adds to the phantasmagoria.

How H.R. Giger’s Brilliant Madness Helped Make Alien So Erotic.

His imagery speaks to me on a deeper, psychological level. When I look at his work, I am reminded how frightening sex is. Sexuality  can be predatory…gritty…even violent. Erotic horror isn’t new, and yet many are quick to write it off as “porn” just because there’s a breast or penis on the canvas. But what of the “alien” that lurks in all of us? What of the bizarre contortions we all make during lovemaking? Is “lovemaking” too cutesy a word when what we truly desire is more honest and dark? H. R. Giger pushed boundaries. He frightened us by flicking the light on and exposing our “nakedness.” He created one of the most popular and iconic monster in cinematic history! And for that, he has my utmost respect. May he rest in peace.