[watch] Looking Happy: The Color, Framing, and POV of AMELIE

By  · Published on July 11th, 2016

In Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s romantic masterpiece AMELIE, the narrative, characters, and production design are all geared towards giving the film a very distinctive “fairy tale” atmosphere that further informs its romantic qualities. This involves removing the audience from the story, to a certain degree, and presenting the narrative as though it’s being delivered to us, it is something we are being shown in the hopes we will find ourselves in it, but it is not a standard romantic comedy in which the characters are supposed to be everypeople. This is a very specific narrative happening to a very specific character who isn’t meant to be a mirror to its audience, but an extrapolation of that audience’s desires and expectations for the genre and romance at large. Of the many ways Jeunet accomplished this, his use of colors, POV, and framing go the furthest towards creating a removed world that lives inside us all.

In a trio of video essays each geared towards one of the above-listed techniques, Vimeo user lvetgg analyses just how Jeunet employs these to accomplish his most unique and most loved film to date.

The first focuses on Jeunet’s light and airy color scheme that he keeps consistent throughout the entire film, which adds a dreamlike component to the fairy tale environment, as though it’s a tale being told by its own protagonist. The director focuses on three colors – green, yellow and red – and incorporates several shades of each to help tell his story.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet- THREE COLORS from Ivetgg on Vimeo.

In the next essay, attention is drawn to just how often Jeunet focuses on a television screen in AMELIE, which is further reiteration that what we’re being shown is a story, an act meant to represent reality but not reality, something artificial and created for the purpose of demonstrating emotion in visual form.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet- SCREEN from Ivetgg on Vimeo.

And in the third and final essay, Jeunet’s use of framing is examined, specifically how he frames the film’s various shots intended to be from the POV of optical devices like cameras, telescopes, or binoculars. The effect of this is again to reinforce the notion that we the audience are voyeurs here, not participants, this is not our story played out by others, this is another’s story performed for us. We are eyes here, not pulses, we are observers and by employing repetitive and intermediary POVs, Jeunet reminds us of this.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet- RE-FRAMING from Ivetgg on Vimeo.

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Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist