Monday, September 28, 2009

Mon nom est Jean-Pierre Jeunet

When I was a kid, I used to escape from my family with my imagination. And I kept this spirit into my adult life.(Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

Mon nom est Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

I am the director of the movie Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, or simply known stateside as Amélie. "I was born in 1953 and I have retained a nostalgia for the France of my childhood, or rather for its images, its fashion, its objects."

The word "NOSTALGIA" represents both a physical and spiritual longing for something in the past. For example, distant fading memories from years ago when one was a young child or the chain of events that occurred one after another that made one retreat into one's own imagination. Amélie retreats into her imagination to find someone whom she can talk to since her dad won't - the suicidal goldfish, statues that come to live, TV that can talk.

Perhaps I, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, could also have retreated into my own little world of dreams and imagination for the exact same reason Amélie had. My dad wasnt really talking to me much when I was a child. Up to the day He took him away from us, we never really talked. I remember being forced by my mum to sit by his side in the hospital ward the day before Father's day 3 years ago - to talk to him. But i really do not know what's there to say. All I did was look at his eyes, hold his weak hand and just wish that I could say something. After a while, he said something to me that I could barely understand - oh how I wish I did. All I can do was to imagine what it was. And imagine was all I seem to do since then.

Could he have told me to be a good son and look after my mum and 3 younger siblings? Could he have told me to just say something for goodness sake cause Ive been a man of little words since I was a boy? I really don't know.

Also perhaps I, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, had experienced a moment in my life that made me decided that enough was enough! That I really need to do something about my spontaneity (the lack of it) and shyness. To step out of my comfort zone - my little idealistic world - and just do something about things instead of just thinking about them.

Therefore, like Amélie who devised a scheme to introduce herself to Nino Quincampoix (a young man with an upbringing as troubled as hers), perhaps I too had decided that it's time for me to do something about the girl of my recent dreams. I had realised that the only way for her to know of my existence would be to say hi or to smile when we cross path - as pointed out by friends. However, like Amélie, Im introverted and introverts just do not say hi. We leave clues and hints to show our existence. We believe is the slimmest of chances that fate will simply pull through for us - and that's exactly the case with Amélie.

However, like all introverts, I know that such simplistic idealistic love story can only happen on the big screen. We know that things will not happen if one does not do anything about it. This might explain why Amélie got about doing something to get the guy that she liked midway through the movie.

If someone were to ask me why I had offered the world this particular vision of the world, I would say that perhaps, I simply want all of us to forget the hectic pace of the world that we're living in and just take a slow walk down memory lane. To relive the carefree and innocent life that we once had and then, do something about the life we presently live. Let's not be a slave of school and time and work and everything else in between. Perhaps, I wanted to tell the world that if we try real hard to look at things in a slightly positive and optimistic light, we'll see the good in everything that is not going all so good.

Perhaps too, I wanted to give the world a glimpse into the world of an introvert and our idea of simple pleasures. And if my name was really Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Amélie is actually just a secret coded message to all introverts all over the world to get their imaginary butts up and do something about getting the girl or guy that they want, through whatever way that they want.

Are there broader implications of the film's "retro" tendencies?

'[One critic] left the film enraged, declaring his disgust with this ... retro, postcard version of France, undeniably cleansed of all cultural diversity and, by extension, all immigrants.' (Frédéric Bonnaud)

If my name was really Jean-Pierre Jeunet, I'll call the critic a hard-boiled realist who has a really hard hard time with my excessive magic, fantasy and imagination. He's just like Cinderella's stepsisters who just can't stomach the fact that Cinderella got her Prince Charming despite all the odds.

I wish that Amélie will continue to stick and jump around in my heart, egging me to do all those silly and charming little things I wish I dared to do.

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