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FutureStarrThe city of lost children.
The plot of "The City Of Lost Children" is completely original and it never lets your mind wander off to other places. It also involves quite a few fascinating and somewhat weird characters in a dreary harbor town called "The City Of Lost Children" (hence the title). One(that is his name) is a slow-minded circus strongman who searches for his adopted little brother who has been kidnapped by a group of henchmen with robotic eyes called the Cyclops. One's little brother has been kidnapped and taken to a quickly aging mad scientist named Krank so that his dreams may be stolen. The mad scientist needs the dreams of children so that he will not age so quickly. The source of this problem is a curse that was put upon him. Because of this curse, his wife is a midget, he cannot dream, and he has seven identical sons (all of whom have a strange sleeping disorder). In this movie there is somewhat of a subplot that involves a wicked pair of unseparated siamese twin sisters. These women run a sort of school where they have the children in it steal for them. One small, but tough, girl named Miette runs away from the school, finds One, and aides him in his search. When the two women find out about their little thief, they go to Marcello, a retired man who used to run a circus freakshow, to get what they need to catch and kill the little girl and her newfound friend. Although this plot seems a bit hard to follow, it all fits together perfectly in the end with wondrous results. To accompany this odd story, there is a beautiful soundtrack composed by Angelo Badalmenti with one song ("Who Will Take Your Dreams Away") by Marianne Faithful. This music fits the mood and plot of the story perfectly and stays with you(as does the movie itself) long after the credits have rolled.
Krank (Daniel Emilfork), a highly intelligent but malicious being created by a vanished scientist, is unable to dream, which causes him to age prematurely. At his lair on an abandoned oil rig (which he shares with the scientist's other creations: six childish clones, a dwarf named Martha, and a brain in a vat named Irvin) he uses a dream-extracting machine to steal dreams from children. The children are kidnapped for him from a nearby port city by a cyborg cult called the Cyclops, who in exchange he supplies with mechanical eyes and ears. Among the kidnapped is Denree (Joseph Lucien), the adopted little brother of carnival strongman One (Ron Perlman). (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
In the way it populates this plot with grotesque and improbable characters, "City of Lost Children" can be called Felliniesque, I suppose, although Fellini never created a vision this dark or disturbing. Krank's world includes a large number of children, kidnapped for their dreams, along with a brain that lives in a sort of fish tank, several cloned orphans who cannot figure which of them is the original, some very nasty insects, and Siamese twins who control the orphans for nefarious ends. :
The movie takes place mostly on an offshore rig inhabited by the terrible and tragic Krank (Daniel Emilfork). Krank is terrible because he is a monster, and he is a monster because he cannot dream, which makes him tragic. So he kidnaps children, to steal their dreams and feed off them. One of his victims is Denree (Joseph Lucien), a little boy who is almost more trouble than he is worth. Kidnapping him is a mistake because Denree's adopted brother is One (Ron Perlman, from TV's "Beauty and the Beast"), a strongman and sometime harpooner. One tracks his brother to the rig to save him. (Source: www.rogerebert.com)
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). (Source: www.astortheatre.net.au)
Straightforward enough, though the way the story develops is so heavily based in innuendo and mysteries that don't pay off for half the running time that it's all much more of a "just go along for the ride" experience than it sounds. It's the kind of film that doesn't make the smallest attempt to win you over to its side; if you aren't immediately grabbed by the demented look of its world, there's nothing in the first ten minutes that's going to convince you to stick with it. And this is by no means a world that tries to be inviting: it's made up suffocatingly close buildings that all feel like they're about to collapse and villains who are queasily bio-mechanical, like the abandoned concepts from a David Cronenberg children's film. Darius Khondji shoots all of it in a patina of mouldering greens that makes even the decayed look of his other 1995 film, Se7en, seem cheery. Now, I happen to find the look of the film utterly captivating, even as I wish that the film attached to that look had a bit more oxygen. If the visuals don't work for the individual, then the whole thing is done: Delicatessen is a better nightmare, even if it's less audaciously visual, and the visceral reactions it provokes are more sustained. Still, there are so many utterly unforgettable images here - the storybook illustration feeling of the sea and the oil rig, the flea's-eye view of the damp alleys of the town, the opening scene in which the clones stage a travesty of Christmas to attempt to cheer up the child they're kidnapping - that I'd still have to urge the movie on everybody I could. It's not always successful at being a thoroughly sui generis demented dreamscape and bedtime story bone dark, but it always tries to be, and that kind of unrestrained commitment is a precious thing. (Source: www.alternateending.com)