The City of Lost Children @ Northwest Film Forum

Silence legume! 🧠

📸: Courtesy Northwest Film Forum | The City of Lost Children

Showtimes May 17th – May 21st

If you’ve ever been around me and my sister for any amount of time and you hear us snarl “Silence, legume!” at each other, you have 1995’s The City of Lost Children to thank for what from the outside seems like absolute nonsense.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro’s follow-up to arthouse sensation Delicatessen is, to put it mildly, a weird one. Phantasmagorical, even. Set in a fantastical port city, a cruel and rapidly aging man named Krank enlists in the help of his small army of clones and a cyborg cult to kidnap children and steal their dreams. But a word of advice to Krank? Don’t kidnap the adopted brother of a circus strongman (Ron Perlman), or he’ll pair up with a little orphan criminal named Miette to put an end to your malfeasance. Add harpoon-wielding divers, conjoined twins, poisonous fleas, and a brain in suspended animation (the aforementioned “legume”), and you’ve got a movie that experts have called “really, really French.”

Jeunet and Caro would never again make another movie together. They were both offered Alien: Resurrection, but Caro refused to answer to the harsh demands of a hands-on, franchise-focused studio (20th Century Fox), and they parted ways. Jeunet, meanwhile, went on to make other extremely French movies Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, a.k.a. Amélie (really good) and A Very Long Engagement (wonderful).

This film exploded my brain when I was in middle school and, while I’ve watched it countless times since, I haven’t seen it on the big screen in 28 years. All thanks goes to the Northwest Film Forum for making my creepy dreams come true before some old dude kidnaps me.

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Marcus Gorman

Marcus Gorman is a Seattle-based playwright and film programmer. He once raised money for a synagogue by marathoning 15 Adam Sandler movies in one weekend. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @marcus_gorman.