Amélie (also known as Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain; English: The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain) is a 2001 French romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with Guillaume Laurant, the film is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, set in Montmartre. It tells the story of a shy waitress, played by Audrey Tautou, who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better while struggling with her own isolation. The film was a co-production between companies in France and Germany. Taking in over $33 million in a limited theatrical release, it is to date the highest-grossing French-language film released in the United States, and one of the biggest international successes for a French movie.
The film received critical acclaim and was a major box office success. Amélie won Best Film at the European Film Awards; it also won four César Awards in 2002 (including Best Film and Best Director), two BAFTA Awards (including Best Original Screenplay), and was nominated for five Academy Awards.
“Amélie” is a fanciful comedy about a young woman who discretely orchestrates the lives of the people around her, creating a world exclusively of her own making. Shot in over 80 Parisian locations, acclaimed director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (“Delicatessen”; “The City of Lost Children”) invokes his incomparable visionary style to capture the exquisite charm and mystery of modern-day Paris through the eyes of a beautiful ingenue.
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet chanced upon the accordion- and piano-driven music of Yann Tiersen while driving with his production assistant who put on a CD he had not heard before. Greatly impressed, he immediately bought Tiersen’s entire catalogue and eventually commissioned him to compose pieces for the film. The soundtrack features both compositions from Tiersen’s first three albums, as well as new items, variants of which can be found on his fourth album, L’Absente, which he was writing at the same time.
Beside the accordion and piano the music features parts played with harpsichord, banjo, bass guitar, vibraphone and even a bicycle wheel at the end of “La Dispute” (which plays over the opening titles in the motion picture).
Prior to discovering Tiersen, Jeunet wanted composer Michael Nyman to score the film.
“Les Jours tristes” was co-written with Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy. The track later received English lyrics, and was released by The Divine Comedy as a b-side to the Regeneration single “Perfect Lovesong.” The English-language version also appeared on Tiersen’s L’Absente.
All music is composed by Yann Tiersen, except where noted.
Video: Amélie 2001 Film