7.6/10
62,258
244 user 47 critic

The City of Lost Children (1995)

La cité des enfants perdus (original title)
Trailer
2:22 | Trailer
A scientist in a surrealist society kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process.
3 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Delicatessen (1991)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Post-apocalyptic surrealist black comedy about the landlord of an apartment building who occasionally prepares a delicacy for his odd tenants.

Directors: Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Marie-Laure Dougnac, Dominique Pinon, Pascal Benezech
Micmacs (2009)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A man and his friends come up with an intricate and original plan to destroy two big weapons manufacturers.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Dany Boon, André Dussollier, Nicolas Marié
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Tells the story of a young woman's relentless search for her fiancé, who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War One.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Jodie Foster
Brazil (1985)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A bureaucrat, in a retro-future world, tries to correct an administrative error and becomes an enemy of the state.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro
Dark City (1998)
Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A man struggles with memories of his past, which includes a wife he cannot remember, and a nightmarish world without a sun.

Director: Alex Proyas
Stars: Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly
Amélie (2001)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus
Man Bites Dog (1992)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand.

Directors: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, Nelly Pappaert
Strange Days (1995)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A former cop turned street-hustler accidentally uncovers a conspiracy in Los Angeles in 1999.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis
Action | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

200 years after her death, Ellen Ripley is revived as a powerful human/alien hybrid clone. Along with a crew of space pirates, she must again battle the deadly aliens and stop them from reaching Earth.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Mike Nelson and his robot companions watch and give their comments about This Island Earth (1955).

Director: Jim Mallon
Stars: Trace Beaulieu, Michael J. Nelson, Jim Mallon
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In a suburb of London, young Jamie is escaping sport hours, to avoid being the victim of his comrades. Young Ste, his neighbor, is beaten by his father, and comes to sleep overnight. They discover new feelings, sleeping in the same bed.

Director: Hettie Macdonald
Stars: Glen Berry, Linda Henry, Scott Neal
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A man entranced by his dreams and imagination is love-struck with a French woman and feels he can show her his world.

Director: Michel Gondry
Stars: Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Miou-Miou
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ron Perlman ... One
Daniel Emilfork ... Krank
Judith Vittet Judith Vittet ... Miette
Dominique Pinon ... Le scaphandrier / Les clones
Jean-Claude Dreyfus ... Marcello
Geneviève Brunet Geneviève Brunet ... La Pieuvre (as Genevieve Brunet)
Odile Mallet Odile Mallet ... La Pieuvre
Mireille Mossé Mireille Mossé ... Mademoiselle Bismuth
Serge Merlin Serge Merlin ... Gabriel Marie (Cyclops Leader)
Rufus ... Peeler
Ticky Holgado ... Ex-Acrobat
Joseph Lucien Joseph Lucien ... Denree
Mapi Galán Mapi Galán ... Lune (as Mapi Galan)
Briac Barthélémy Briac Barthélémy ... Bottle (as Briac Barthelemy)
Pierre-Quentin Faesch Pierre-Quentin Faesch ... Pipo
Edit

Storyline

Set in a dystopian society, someone is kidnapping the children. Krank and his band of clones are using the children to harvest their dreams. Then they kidnap Denree, the brother of One, a fairground strongman. One sets out to find his brother. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France | Germany | Spain | Belgium | USA

Language:

French | Cantonese

Release Date:

15 December 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The City of Lost Children See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,348, 17 December 1995

Gross USA:

$1,738,611

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,781,465
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ron Perlman doesn't speak French and was the only American on set. But he learned all of his lines, and delivered them without error. In commentaries and interviews, however, he insists his French was bad. 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 »

Alternate Versions

There are two different audio tracks for the film - one is the original French language version and another is an English language dub. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cell (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

My Very Sweet Lady
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
a feast for the imagination
24 January 2003 | by Jeremy-93See all my reviews

I can't help myself: I adore this film. I freely accept that it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea; if pushed, I might even accept that it's not perfect. But there's no film I love more, or more enjoy re-watching. One caveat though: I've seen both the subtitled and the dubbed print, and the English dubbing frankly comes close to ruining the movie. Ron Perlman dubs himself and is fine, and some of the other adult English actors are perfectly OK, though they tend to be blander than the French originals. But most of the children are terrible, and with her own voice it's Judith Vittet's extraordinary performance (all the more extraordinary considering she was nine at the time) that helps give "La Cité" the genuine emotional centre that some viewers don't feel it has.

But I'll come back to that. In any version, at least Jeunet and Caro's astonishing visual flair and artistry come over. I can't think of a film that has such a concentration of memorable shots - time and again, especially watching on DVD with a freeze-frame facility, you realize how many beautiful compositions Jean-Pierre Jeunet gives us: though the cast of characters could easily fill a freak show, and the sets are dark and quite unglamorous in themselves, the cinematography is gorgeous and the mise-en-scène often strangely elegant. It has a look all of its own, perfect for a modern, urban fairy-tale. The music too is gorgeous, one of the finest scores by David Lynch's regular musical collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti.

"Fairy tale" is I think the best generic starting-point for this film, so long as you think Grimm rather than Disney. (Unlike "Delicatessen", it isn't really a comedy, though it has comic elements). And the plot works according to its own logic, even if the progression from scene to scene is occasionally a bit lumpy or obscure. Krank (the astonishing Daniel Emilfork), grown prematurely old because he cannot dream, uses a cult of blind, messianic preachers to abduct children from a decaying industrial port and steal their dreams - but they have only nightmares, and Krank falls ever deeper into despair and evil. It's up to the orphan pickpocket Miette and a none-too-brainy circus strongman, One, to put a stop to him. This rich idea is elaborated with all sorts of visual conceits and eccentric characters - Jeunet mounts, for example, a couple of astonishing sequences in which chains of unlikely effects proceed from the smallest of causes - but never at the expense of the central relationship of One and Miette.

In a sense Miette, like Krank, has grown old too fast: the orphaned street-children of this city are savvy and unsentimental, and never seem to have had a childhood; meanwhile there's something deeply childish, in various ways, about most of the adults. Sensitively directed and never overacting, Judith Vittet's Miette gradually thaws, and Ron Perlman brings a lot of sympathy and pathos to what could have been an oafish, cartoonish role: Jeunet gives plenty of space and subtlety to their gradually-developing friendship, and dares to do what I suspect no English director would dare to do at the moment, which is to make their relationship innocently sexualized. Neither of them is really a grown-up, but it's still an extremely risky move, exploring the first stirrings of pre-pubescent sexuality while trying not to be exploitative or prurient. I do think the film pulls it off, though I can imagine some viewers feeling distinctly uncomfortable with it. For me it's one of the most convincingly unsentimental and nuanced (if mannered) portrayals of childhood I've ever seen on the screen, and there is real compassion and tenderness along the way, as well as some darker twists and turns.

It's a film that rewards analysis if you're prepared to surrender to its strange world with its strange rules. But it rewards the senses and the emotions too - and it radiates love of cinema as the perfect medium for sophisticated fantasy. One elderly actress who appears towards the end (Nane Germon) acted - as Jeunet's DVD commentary points out - in Jean Cocteau's "La Belle et la Bête" about fifty years earlier (there are, by the way, distinct references to the Beauty and the Beast story here), and "La Cité des enfants perdus" deserves to join that film as one of the classic cinematic fairy-tales. Pity about Marianne Faithfull over the closing credits, though!


58 of 62 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 244 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed