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The City of Lost Children (1995)
"La cité des enfants perdus" (original title)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 49,120 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 232 user | 68 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

A scientist in a surrealist society kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process.

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Title: The City of Lost Children (1995)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
One
Daniel Emilfork ...
Judith Vittet ...
...
...
Geneviève Brunet ...
Odile Mallet ...
Mireille Mossé ...
Serge Merlin ...
Rufus ...
...
Joseph Lucien ...
Mapi Galán ...
Briac Barthélémy ...
Pierre-Quentin Faesch ...
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Storyline

Krank (Daniel Emilfork), who cannot dream, kidnaps young children to steal their dreams. One (Ron Perlman), a former whale hunter who is as strong as a horse, sets forth to search for Denree, his little brother who was kidnapped by Krank's men. Helped by young Miette (Judith Vittet), he soon arrives in La Cite des Enfants Perdus (The City of Lost Children). Written by Marie-Andree Poisson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

children | dream | aging | girl | rescue | See more »

Taglines:

Where happily ever after is just a dream. See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing and grotesque images of violence and menace | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 December 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The City of Lost Children  »

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,513,028 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To achieve the slightly skewed color scheme of the movie, the actors were made up in white face and the color palette corrected until they were flesh-toned. See more »

Goofs

The words from The Original that Miette remembers in flashback (after she receives Uncle Irvin's dream message) differ slightly from what The Original actually said, although the point of the message is still the same. See more »

Quotes

Krank: Irvin?
L'oncle Irvin: I've got a migraine!
Krank: Irvin, you know all about feelings. Won't you try to help me? Won't you explain why all those children only have nightmares?
L'oncle Irvin: Because you are their nightmare. You could persecute all the children in the world, but there's one thing you'll never have.
Krank: What?
L'oncle Irvin: A soul.
Krank: Because you believe you have one? You don't even have a body. The one who created us made us all monsters.
L'oncle Irvin: No Krank, you're wrong. You are the only monster here.
Krank: [Distressed] Be Quiet! He is the only one ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dark City (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Petit Papa Noël
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

M. Perlman parle francais aussi!
16 May 2003 | by (Houston, TX CSA) – See all my reviews

"City of Lost Children" is a beautifully-realized if derivative dark fantasy in which a mad scientist named Krank, aided by a half-dozen clones, a midget woman, and a brain in a tank, abducts children to his offshore lab so he can steal their dreams. Seems he's unable to have any of his own. A sideshow strongman, played by a radiantly fit Ron Perlman, goes in search of his little brother, who has been taken by Krank's goons. Perlman, in another of his growing gallery of bizarre roles, is a perfect example of why I like character actors better than big-name stars. And how many languages does he speak, anyway? French here, Spanish (and English, of course) in "Cronos"; polyglot in "The Name of the Rose"; what next?

The strongman, named One, enlists the aid of Miette, a homeless, streetwise girl who, along with her fellow urchins, is part of a ring of thieves employed by a pair of sinister female Siamese twins named the Octopus. (Watch carefully how these evil twins smoke a cigarette. There are more weird characters per square inch in this flick than anywhere else outside a Heironymus Bosch painting.) Miette is played by Judith Villet, whose gonna-be-a-great-beauty looks, her air of intelligence and experience beyond her years, make her a sort of Gallic Natalie Portman.

Anyway, that's the plot: rescue little brother from the mad doctor. The images are the thing: with its rendering of a bleak, low-tech retro-future, "City" looks more like a Terry Gilliam movie than "Twelve Monkeys" does! And it slyly slips in ideas and images from other sources, to good effect: Krank himself is as much of the mad-doctor stereotype as is the character in "The Nightmare Before Christmas"; his outlandish electro-headgear is similar to that used in Disney's "Merlin Jones"; a nightmare on the loose swoops low along the ground through streets and alleys as a trail of green mist, improving on a similar image from "Bram Stoker's Dracula"; there's a confrontation in dreamland a la the "Elm Street" series; and while the idea of a brain in a tank isn't a new one, this is the first benign one I've ever seen. Familiar or not--and I'm thinking also of "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T"--"City of Lost Children" is still engaging, enjoyably weird, fantastic and funny, helped greatly by the fact that One and Miette are so endearing. The pace is a tad slower than it might have been. But this is, after all, a French movie.


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