Archive for September 25th, 2014

Following up: The marketing tie-in and the stalker in ‘Amélie’

September 25, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 25, 2014

I wanted to follow up on my essay about Amélie with two quick notes about the film.

One is that I experienced an unexpected jolt of recognition at the subplot involving the protagonist’s father. Amélie — minor spoiler ahead! — removes the garden gnome with which M. Poulain seems to be obsessed and gives it to a customer at her café who is a flight attendant.

Only we don’t actually see what Amélie does with it, because the movie diverts our attention. When Amélie walks into the central Paris train station with the gnome, she encounters the movie’s love interest for the second time. Nino Quincompoix chases a man out of the train station, and Amélie — carrying her father’s gnome — runs after him.

It wasn’t initially clear to me who Quincompoix was chasing or why. Later, it became apparent that he was running after a character known as the man with red shoes. (I won’t reveal who the man with red shoes is or why Quincompoix takes an interest in him.) The relevant event here is that, as part of his pursuit, the love interest hops on his motorbike, takes off after red-shoes-man’s car, and suddenly swerves to avoid an oncoming vehicle. That change in direction sends a photo album flying out of the bike’s side saddle and on to the ground, where Amélie — ornament still in her arms — comes upon it and picks it up. The very next scene is all about Nino’s photo album.

Here’s where the jolt of recognition comes in. Several minutes later, Amélie visits her father, who is mystified by envelopes that he’s been receiving in the mail. These envelopes contain no written messages — just photographs of the gnome standing in front of various international locales.

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