Why Amélie is a magical masterpiece

In an amusing twist, Amélie was rejected when it was submitted to the Cannes Film Festival, with Jeunet reporting that programmer Gilles Jacob called the film “uninteresting”. In July of this year, Amélie finally did play at Cannes, in a special anniversary screening on the beach. Hundreds of fans – including myself – turned out to watch the film under the stars, in a setting that felt as romantic as the story itself.

So the Paris of Amélie might be a fantasy, but it’s a beautiful one all the same; one that invites viewers to pause amid the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives to find moments of quiet magic. Although the reality of these moments is often mundane (Amélie chases the mystery of a man she keeps seeing in photobooths, only to discover he’s a repair technician) that doesn’t make them any less worthwhile, particularly in light of the period of prolonged isolation from which we are still slowly emerging. For Audrey Brisson, Amélie continues to play a part in her life even beyond the stage. “I was on the phone waiting to speak to my bank the other day,” she recalls. “The hold music they were using was the Amélie soundtrack.” There we have it: proof the magic of Amélie Poulain continues to work in mysterious ways.

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