Krank and his lovely hat.

This one's a Must-See

La cité des enfants perdus (eng. The City of Lost Children) is a surreal 1995 steampunk-film created by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

It takes place in The City of Lost Children, since that’s apparently what the city is called.


Krank (left) is moved to tears by the story of his own life.

Krank (Daniel Emilfork) is a lonely scientist who lives on an offshore oil rig with his dwarf-mother, his brothers, who are all clones of Dominique Pinon, and his uncle, a talking brain in a fish-tank with tubas for ears. I’m supposed to make a joke after uttering those words, but I just don’t feel like it. Krank seeks the ability to dream and thus (???) slow down is rapid aging, so what he does is steal children from the nearby city, aiming to find out how exactly they dream. So yes, Krank ages quickly, which is obvious due to his overall behaviour; he’s just a little boy inside an old man’s body. Also, early in the film, the talking brain makes us wonder whether Krank is actually the scientist or if he was in fact created by someone else??

Is that Miette's leg under the sheet or are you just happy to see her?

One keeping Miette warm... *cough*...

Hired to capture the children of the city are the Cyclopses, a gang of strange one-eyed cyborgs, who get circus-strongman One (Ron Perlman!) involved when they capture his very little brother. And after that, One gets a little girl named Miette (Judith Vittet) involved, as well. She is an orphan, who along with other orphans work for two evil ladies – although the ladies share one leg, so to speak, which makes them siamese twins and techincally just one lady – stealing things from rich people on the streets and bringing them to “her”. “She” is known as The Octupus; y’know, because she has 8 legs… well, more like 3 actually, but… yeah. As One and Miette become very close friends (whether it’s like a brother-sister relationship or more like peadophilia, I’m not quiet sure) and eventually escape the Octupus to go find the Cyclopses and the lost children, she hires the mysterious Marcello (Jean-Claude Dreyfuss) to go after them. He uses a flea carrying a special venom, or something, that will make you violent and aggresive if it bites you. This flea becomes useful towards the end of the film, I can assure you.

Now, its plot coming off as rather confusing, it might very well turn you off – it’s sounds way too weird, you say; I would never watch this crack-hallucination of a movie, you say – but even for those who are not interested in the story, it is definitely worth seeing because of its surreal and beautifully dark visuals, as well as the characters, who are fascinating both in the bizarre way they act and also the way they look – you just can’t take your eyes off any of them, including the ones that actually look pretty, like little Miette.

Can we get a little smile, Emilfork?

Krank is displeased.

Indeed, it’s a movie worth seeing mostly because of how gorgeous it is, and if you don’t try to think to hard about what the movie is actually about – it can be hard to follow, I know – then that’s even better. Just enjoy the characters, enjoy the visuals, enjoy the clever chain reactions Jenuet and Caro are known for, enjoy the beautiful sets, enjoy the ride.

I love it, personally. I no longer find the story all too confusing; I love the crazy characters, while feeling genuinely sorry for Krank and rooting for One and Miette; I love the acting; I love how absurd it is; I love how different it is; it’s simply one of my all-time favorites. Again many people compare this to a crack-fantasy, so if you don’t know anything about art, this might not be the film for you. I myself adore it!

5/5 whatever.