Amelie brings back some fond memories from a time that I don’t really want to remember. My high school was a series of disaster after disaster, embarrassment after embarrassment so I’m not particularly thrilled that some bits of happy events that occurred around this time also forcibly bring back a sudden tightening around the chest area and oodles of goofy smiles.
Even so, Amelie marks a huge coming of age moment for me. Until then, I never really watched movies. I sat through them waiting for a moment to take home, and usually these moments were romantic oscillations between the hero and heroine. I would later relive these moments with superb memory. With Amelie I felt compelled to pay attention; to details, to colours, and because it was my first foreign language movie, to dialogues and subtitles.
Late afternoons during holidays at home were woozy. Everybody would be asleep and I would have just woken up, hungry and aimlessly walking. On one such woozy afternoon I caught Amelie when I was lazily flipping through TV channels. I am an impatient buffoon when it comes to waiting to watch something. So if I stop flipping through channels and decide to abandon the remote control I must have been crazy hooked. And because this decision of pressing the next button has to be taken in under a second, I was surprised at what made me stop.
The movie had already started and Amelie was looking for Dominique Bredoteau. The name baffled me, the colours thrilled me and the language confused me. And so I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling all these things at once and I found myself enjoying a movie in a language I had never heard before and despite the fact that it lacked traditional romantic oscillations I never once complained.
Amelie inaugurated in me, an interest for unknown forms and unknown cities. I liked the narrator who would come in and go everytime a character was introduced. I liked that I didn’t have to know their names and that the movie was giving each of these characters – important or not – ample time to be introduced by the narrator – what they liked doing, what they didn’t. I am curious about shit like that.
Amelie is not simple, she is not your girl next door, she is not cheerful and she is definitely not a do- gooder. Amelie is just curious. And she does what she does to see if they will come out as brilliantly as they did in her head. Even lifeless characters in the movie seem haunting, like the gnome, like the fruits and vegetables, like the dead roast chicken, like the streets of Paris, like Lady Di’s pictures in newspapers too.
And now, after all these years of watching some seriously psycho stuff, I still love Amelie. Some kind of exciting ritual that I look forward to once in three months has been initiated. I look for tiny opportunities to screen this movie for students, watch it with my sister over and over again, and watch it every time it plays on world movies. I never tire of watching this movie. Along with such loyalties I also resist an immediate urge to smack people in the head when they say that the movie is boring.
Everytime I watch this movie I also start wondering if there are more movies like Amelie that I can accidently ‘find’ on lazy afternoons. Anyway, my sister’s fondness for the movie has taken a whole different angle. She now wants to name her child Dominique Bredoteau. And I want to have a child just so I can name it Dominique Bredoteau.