Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain

I learned two days past of my impending departure from these fifty, nifty United States. I was informed that I needed to make a flight reservation in the approximate date range of August 20 – 23rd. I replied that I wanted them to make the flight reservation and then immediately began informing my rather persistent loved ones of the date.

Anyway, this summer has been lacking in once strange and tantalizing way. I lack responsibility in the keenest sense of the word. Although I certainly have goals and tasks to be accomplished, they are mostly personal and therefore lack the same sort of resounding shame that a public failure carries. This has left me with much personal time and freedom to pursue the enjoyment of subjects which had been lost to me (save periodic enchantment) during the past few years.

These pursuits include the aforementioned running (of which I am still vigorously partaking), pleasure reading, and watching extravagant amounts of Doctor Who and other fanciful movies. Extravagant is, of course, and over-statement as I generally watch one movie a day and have run out of nuWho. Yesterday I found myself flipping through Netflix in a vexed manner, without much hope for finding anything of particular interest when my cursor came to rest on a movie which I had not encountered for some time: Amélie.

At that point I experienced the very meaning of this blog as I recalled a conversation held between a fellow participant of the Japan-America Student Conference and I two summers ago as we sat beside each other on a bus from the Japanese Consulate heading back to our UCLA dorms for the evening. That day we chatted on about the Piano Duet in Corpse Bride and about the feeling that Danny Elfman had managed to convey in a simple piece which was under two minutes in length. And then she mentioned how she had once been grasped by the music in the movie Amélie. Somehow, two years later, I still remember that conversation. I hadn’t seen Amélie before, but I do remember that we shared headphones and listened to a bit of the music that day. Vibrant significance in those words, you see, to have an affect on my actions even now.

With little else to lose I decided to commit two hours of my day to the spectacular fairy tale that is Amélie. I won’t spoil the story for those of you who haven’t seen it, but it’s a delicate and unique romance. The movie is absolutely emblematic of the reason I started this blog. From the opening narration which carefully describe the conditions on the day of Amélie’s conception to the meticulous statement of the main characters’ quirky likes and dislikes the film is delightfully enchanting from start to finish.

On September 3rd 1973, at 6:28pm and 32 seconds, a bluebottle fly capable of 14,670 wing beats a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre. At the same moment, on a restaurant terrace nearby, the wind magically made two glasses dance unseen on a tablecloth. Meanwhile, in a 5th-floor flat, 28 Avenue Trudaine, Paris 9, returning from his best friend’s funeral, Eugène Colère erased his name from his address book. At the same moment, a sperm with one X chromosome, belonging to Raphaël Poulain, made a dash for an egg in his wife Amandine. Nine months later, Amélie Poulain was born.

The music is a spectacular work by Yann Tiersen. His use of a multitude of instruments, both conventional and otherwise, adds a somewhat twisted and dark feeling to the movie. Certain pieces seem fit to be used a Circ du Soleil spectacle. Tiersen’s masterful musical interpretation of the film has left me humming and pondering since the credits first rolled.

The fairy tale… will it have a vibrant significance in my actions and my life? Who can say, yet?


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