Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's latest film, Micmacs, has one foot planted firmly in the French auteur's world of weirdness and wonder that we've come to love in films like Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children, and Amelie. The other foot, however, falls in a world of political intrigue and big business, albeit one of exaggerated figures full of hot air and an intricate but silly crime caper.
In Micmacs, Bazil (Dany Boon) finds himself jobless and homeless after getting shot in the head; he finds refuge with a group of odd characters who live in an underground cave full of clockwork trinkets and other fabulous things. Unfortunately, this isn't Bazil's first experience with violence; when he was a wee thing, his father was blown up by a mine in the Moroccan desert. When he finds out that rival companies made the bullet in his head and the mine that killed his father, he decides it's time to get revenge on both of them. His underground friends—Slammer, Buster, Remington, Calculator, Tiny Pete, Mama Chow, and Elastic Girl—help out in their own special ways. This talented band of misfits takes on arms manufacturers and their pompous owners with silly and sweet results.
And, in case you were wondering, the word "micmacs" more or less translates to "shenanigans."
TribecaFilm.com: Micmacs seems like a more political, straightforward movie than some of your previous films. Can you talk about the story and what inspired it?
We were working during the editing of The City of Lost Children just beside the "Marcel Dassault" weapons ships. They gave me the inspiration. The whole reaction of the French newspaper Le Figaro [which] hated the film [The City of Lost Children]... Le Figaro's owner is... Marcel Dassault...
TribecaFilm.com: Micmacs actually has some scenes that are straight out of your other movies. I'm assuming this is deliberate, and it's something fans of yours will love. I haven't noticed it in your other films, though—is this something that's special to Micmacs?
In fact, I wanted to make a joke with Amelie ten years later, with babies crying in her arms, and Mathieu Kassovitz watching a soccer game with a beer in his hand... But Audrey Tautou refused to do it.
TribecaFilm.com: Why are there Micmacs posters in the film?
In Micmacs, no restrictions! It's a game, you have to recognize 5 posters of Micmacs hidden in Micmacs... If you can't, you have to buy the DVD!
TribecaFilm.com: I read an interview where you said that you are Amelie—are there any characters in Micmacs that you relate to as strongly?
Dany Boon uses his imagination to accomplish a revenge like I use my imagination to make a film... And both of us need a crew to help.
TribecaFilm.com: What are your upcoming projects?
I want to make something completely different. So, I am reading one book per day to make an adaptation...
TribecaFilm.com: What's the craziest thing that happened while making the film?
I saw a terrible color one day at the dailies, and one of my eyes exploded and became completely red like a vampire!
TribecaFilm.com: What's the biggest thing you learned while making this film?
Weather is the most imprecise science in the history of science.
TribecaFilm.com: What's your advice for aspiring filmmakers/actors/etc.?
Take a camera and just do it.
TribecaFilm.com: If you could have dinner with any filmmaker (alive or dead), who would it be?
I don't want to eat with a dead director! The smell would ruin the meal.
TribecaFilm.com: What piece of art (book/film/music/what-have-you) are you currently recommending to your friends most often?
The Adam Elliot animation film, Mary and Max.
TribecaFilm.com: What would your biopic be called?
Saved by Imagination.
TribecaFilm.com: What makes your film a Tribeca must-see?
So many amazing Micmacs!
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