The City of Lost Children (1995)

The City of Lost Children” is a dark tale with a weird (at first sight) plot. In a depressing city, as if seeing in someone’s gothic nightmare, small children are trying to survive under the dominion of three different poles of power.

  • The two twin witches which use the children as toys to steal money,jewelry and whatever valuable may be found from the city’s inhabitants
  • A crazy scientist surrounded by a number of clones, a midget female laboratory assistant  and a brain (!) in a nutrient solution, helping him to achieve his ultimate goal: to find a child with a joyful dream
  • A mob of humans with the right eye blind and a transplant of a mechanical eye in the place of left eye who steal children in order to provide them to the scientist

Freaked so far? Well, this is just the beginning of the tale but there are also good news. A grown-up with the heart of a child and the size of a giant, in the pursuit of the humans-with-the-transplants, who took away the thing he loved the most: a child he found in the trash can and managed to raise it to a five-year old.

Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet created one of the most subversive and optimistic (yes, this is not a typo) films in the movie history visualizing with a pallet of gray and black the past and present of OUR children. It would be nice if you would see the movie first and then read the analysis that follows in this post, so that the references to the film’s scenes make sense.

The three poles of power are the ones our children learn since they are young:

  • The value of money: the two twin witches
  • The well established value of the western science. A science which is able to create miracles, alas, with some “side-effects”: A scientist who has only logic and spends his entire life in order to feel sadness or joy, a “brain” who may have a soul but lives without a body, clones that despite the fact they are many, each one of them is less than a human…: the mad scientist and his secluded laboratory
  • The people who need to believe to something greater than themselves, being however blind to the beauty of the world around them, seeing it only through a distorted eye, where every “sound” from the real world makes them tremble, fearing desire, represent the religious fanatics: the mob of the humans with the transplants

Yet, the quest of the giant with the soul of a child, is the reason that brings this entire universe up-side down. Even when driven by the drug supplied by the devilish trick of the two old witches, a child’s tear is enough to start a chain of chaotic events that finally bring the perversion to its end.


My rating: 09/10

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