7.7/10
74,771
180 user 59 critic

Delicatessen (1991)

R | | Comedy, Crime | 3 April 1992 (USA)
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Post-apocalyptic surrealist black comedy about the landlord of an apartment building who occasionally prepares a delicacy for his odd tenants.

Writers:

Jean-Pierre Jeunet (screenplay), Marc Caro (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 15 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pascal Benezech Pascal Benezech ... Tried to Escape
Dominique Pinon ... Louison
Marie-Laure Dougnac ... Julie Clapet
Jean-Claude Dreyfus ... Clapet
Karin Viard ... Mademoiselle Plusse
Ticky Holgado ... Marcel Tapioca
Anne-Marie Pisani ... Madame Tapioca
Boban Janevski Boban Janevski ... Young Rascal
Mikael Todde Mikael Todde ... Young Rascal (as Mikaël Todde)
Edith Ker Edith Ker ... Grandmother
Rufus ... Robert Kube
Jacques Mathou ... Roger
Howard Vernon ... Frog Man
Chick Ortega Chick Ortega ... Postman
Silvie Laguna Silvie Laguna ... Aurore Interligator
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Storyline

Centered on a post-apocalyptic society where food is scrarce and used as currency. In an apartment building with a delicatessen on the ground floor. The owner of the eatery also owns the apartment building and is in need of a new maintenance man since the prior one "mysteriously" disappeared. A former clown applies for the job and the butcher's intent is to have him work for as little as possible, and then serve him to odd tenants who pay the butcher in grain. The clown and butcher's daughter fall in love and she tries to foil her father's plans by contacting the "troglodytes", a grain eating sub-group of society who live entirely underground.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A futuristic comic feast

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

3 April 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Delicatessen See more »

Filming Locations:

France

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 24,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,794,187
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean-Pierre Jeunet got the idea for the movie in 1988 while vacationing in America. He said after staying in America's hotels he felt the food was so bad that "it tasted like real humans". Then came the idea. See more »

Goofs

Every time Julie plays the cello, the audio is behind what she plays. This is most visible in the first playing session when she is practising by playing C major up and down; the lag is several notes. See more »

Quotes

Louison: Dr Livingstone... He was my partner.
Julie Clapet: Where is he now?
Louison: He disappeared one night, after a show. We only found his remains... They ate him! Can you believe that? They ate him!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, crew members' names appear on objects that the camera tracks across: the director of photography's name appears on a camera, the composer's name on a broken 12" record, etc. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Les enfants de la cité perdue (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A sublime fusion of sickening grotesquerie and sentimental clowning.
16 September 2000 | by praemiusSee all my reviews

Jeunet and Caro, with the help of their familiar repertory of actors, create a deeply disturbing and violent world where only a few shreds of conventional social mores remain. These scraps of morality only serve to delineate more clearly the overall decline and collapse of their dystopia. We see a butcher's shop; the proprietor, played by Jean-Claude Dreyfus, is evil almost to the point of caricature. He only manages to survive by killing his lodgers when they get behind with the rent and selling them as meat. However, the situation is given an added twist when we learn that all the lodgers are aware of this; a woman who is sold a joint of mother sheds a couple of stifled tears and mutters she would have liked to have said goodbye. Similarly, the butcher is most apologetic when he accidentally chops off the foot of one of his clients who has paid his rent in full.

Into this hellish world is placed someone with his moral values relatively intact. In this case, it is a circus performer played by the marvellously rubber-faced Dominique Pinon. A less engaging actor might have made this character seem two-dimensional, as he appears to have no faults whatsoever (except a set of over-mobile lips). He enthrals the lodgers' children with his games, is immensely chivalrous to the butcher's daughter and plays the musical saw. Finally, an old edition of his act is broadcast on the flickering black-and-white television, and even the most bloodthirsty lodgers are amazed and delighted. The butcher's jealousy is roused; Good and Innocence is forced to fight Evil and Hatred.

As such, the plot is relatively straightforward. It is the sheer surrealistic imagination that Jeunet and Caro bring to their films that prevent them being unremittingly bleak or simple morality tales. They display a brilliant sense of musical timing- the whole building frequently becomes an orchestra of creaking bed-springs, croaking frogs, and crackling radios; above all this soars a love-duet of a cello and a musical saw. The faded `look' of the film complements this. With the exception of a single television remote control, nothing here would be out of place in in a exhibition of 40s and 50s design. In `The City of Lost Children' the exuberance of the design threatens to swamp the slender storyline on occasions; here, the more `grown-up' themes and less fantastic design go hand in hand.

(A word of warning about the video release- the subtitles appear to have been written be a couple of Frenchmen who really ought to have concentrated harder in their English classes at school. Apart from that, I wholeheartedly recommend this joyously grotesque film.)


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