Sunday, 4 October 2015

Archetypes Film Review- Amelie (2001)

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Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Amelie (2001) is a film about a young woman called Amelie Poulain who vows to become a regular do-gooder. The film is set in Montmartre, Paris in Amelie's home and work place. It's a film that follows the events in Amelie's life whilst also delving into her mind and imagination to express what she is thinking and feeling.

The Hero- Amelie Poulain  
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Amelie is the main protagonist and hero in this story. She works in a cafe in Montmartre in Paris, where she lives alone in a small flat. The call to adventure came to her when she discovered an old small box hidden behind one of the tiles of her bathroom wall. In the box there were photos and toys that belonged to a boy who lived in the same flat decades before, who is later revealed as Dominique Bretodeau. She makes the decision to find the owner and return the box to him. When she finds him, she leaves the box in a place for him to come across. She doesn't actually give him the box back by hand, to let him know it was her who returned it to him. This shows that she is a hero who wants to remain anonymous to the people she helps. She seems to enjoy watching from a distance and prefers to stay out of confrontation. By doing this it makes her more mysterious and leaves the people she helps to think that a supernatural force has helped them, as if a miracle is granted to them. This gives Amelie a feeling of power, to become that supernatural force in the lives of those close to her. As a child Amelie was lonely as she had no siblings, so she would create imaginary friends to keep her company. As well as this she also witnessed the accidental death of her mother, which shows that Amelie is a person with trauma in her past. Her desire to do good and become a supernatural miracle force to those around her may stem from her sad childhood. She may long to gain control over what happened to other people as she herself had no control over the events in her childhood. 

The Maiden- Nino Quincampoix 
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Nino is the love interest in the story and so he represents the maiden archetype. Nino works in two places, in a sex shop and a funfair. He also has a hobby of collecting the discarded photographs left behind at photo booths. He then puts them in an album that he keeps to himself, until he loses one day and Amelie is the one to find it. Instead of returning the album to Nino, Amelie holds onto it for a while. She seems to find it interesting and doesn't wish to part with it so quickly but when she decides to return it to Nino, she found she couldn't do it face to face. And so she leaves Nino with clues to help him find it. When the album is returned to Nino, it turns out Amelie has left a message inside it asking if he wants to meet her. This shows that Amelie acts differently when communicating with Nino. Up to this point it had become apparent that Amelie doesn't mind if Nino meets her and finds out her identity that she chose to keep secret. Throughout the rest of the film Amelie is given opportunities to meet Nino, but she holds back. This shows she is nervous as this is not just a person she wishes to help, but is someone she has actually fallen in love with.

The Mentor- Raymond Dufayel (The Glass Man)
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Living in a neighbouring flat to Amelie is Raymond Dufayel who is also know as the 'glass man.' Raymond is a man who has a medical condition that causes his bones to be extremely frail. He can never leave his own flat and spends most of his time copying the paintings of famous artists. Amelie has seen him in his flat, but had never spoken to him until he assisted her with finding Dominique Bretodeau. Raymond is the mentor figure in Amelie's life, as she goes to him when talking about the people she helps. Raymond also speaks with Amelie about love and how it's important to not go through life alone. This is a character with experience as Raymond is trapped inside his own flat. He has lived a lonely life and does not wish Amelie to suffer the same fate. Whilst Amelie watches over the people comes across, she is sometimes unaware of the fact that Raymond is watching over her. 

The Mother- Amandine Poulain
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Amandine is the mother of Amelie and is a prominent figure in the story. She works as a teacher and home tutored Amelie when she was a child. Even though Amandine is in the film for a very short period of time, the events in her life and the cause that ended it, massively affects Amelie's life. When Amelie is a child, Amandine is killed outside of Notre Dame cathedral. When a woman attempts to end her life by jumping off the roof of the cathedral, Amandine was directly bellow and was killed instantly. Amelie witnessed the whole event and it was one of the things in her early life that she had no control over.

The Father- Raphael Poulain
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Raphael is the father archetype and is the kind of character that Amelie wants to help. As her father, Raphael is another person who was affected by Amandine's death. He becomes protective over Amelie and is reluctant to leave his home. He is a man trapped in his own mourning, and so Amelie goes about to try and change that. At one point in the film she steals one of his garden gnomes and asks her friend (who's an air hostess) to take it to different countries. She then photographs the gnome and sends them to Raphael as postcards. By doing this Amelie is trying to show her father that it is good to leave the house and have an adventure, rather than being trapped in his home mourning his wife. Despite being her father, Raphael is not the most fatherly figure in Amelie's life. As he fears a lot in the world since the death of his wife. However he is protective and caring towards Amelie, and takes comfort in his daughter.

The Child- Lucien
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The child archetype is Lucien, an assistant to the green grocer. Lucien has a sweet disposition and has no malicious intentions as it's not his nature. He is a person with little intellect but is very lovable as a character. Amelie likes that Lucien takes his work seriously and doesn't go out of his way to insult other people. Lucien has experience of receiving abuse as his boss constantly insults him and embarrasses him in front of customers, and so he is another person that Amelie wants to help.

The Shadow- Mr Collignon
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Collignon is the local green grocer and the shadow archetype in the film. The story of Amelie is about her wanting to do good for others and make the world a better place. It is a vision that Amelie holds throughout the film and Collignon is a character that tarnishes it. He is rude to Lucien and constantly bullies him. He is also quite rude to Amelie when she is looking for Dominique Bretodeau and so she does not like him. So far Amelie had gone out of her way to help other people, but with Collignon she wants to make his life miserable. This shows that Amelie has a great belief in justice. A characteristic typical in the hero archetype.

The Shape shifter- Photo Booth Man  
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The most mysterious person in the film is the photo booth man. In Nino's album of discarded photographs, there are many photographs of this man. It becomes a mystery that Nino and Amelie want to solve. Amelie suspects that he could be a man who wishes to never be forgotten, and by constantly photographing himself, his face remains immortal so in a way he can never die. However it is later revealed that he is a photo booth repair man, and none of Amelie's conceptions of the man were true. 

Trickster- Amelie Poulain
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Amelie may be the hero, but she has the characteristics of the trickster archetype. She delves into other people's lives with out being aware of her presence or intentions. She becomes the event in someone's life that they can not explain. Most of what she does is to improve a person's life however with Collignon she attempts to make his ife difficult. She brakes into his flat and sabotages his possessions, the intention being that he should feel like he's going insane.

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1 comment:

  1. Good choice of film Cat. I like the duel Trickster / Hero and the man as Maiden aspects of your review. Well done