“5 ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS!” headlines the cover of the recently released “Amelie” DVD. Below the domineering bold yellow text is the title of the film, which seems rather inconsequential, compared to its coveted Oscar nominations. Apparently Miramax feels the best way to market their film is not via the talented director or his stars. But as the old saying goes, “You can’t judge a DVD by its cover.”

Paul Wong
Amelie (Audrey Tautou) wants man-love from Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz).
Courtesy of Miramax

If you can get past the obnoxious packaging and the picture of Audrey Tautou that makes her look like a dying E.T., you’ll find the most charming and whimsical movie from 2001. Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s (“Alien Resurrection”) mesmerizing “Amelie” is a stylish visual assault laden with the charisma and wit that is so absent in today’s romantic comedies. Amelie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is an adorable do-gooder who seems content helping others find love, while she remains alone with her overactive imagination. Her surreal adventures in Montmartre, France are highlighted by Jeunet’s inventive direction and use of exaggerated colors that make the graffiti ridden town look like it was taken out of a children’s storybook. “Amelie” avoids what most directors would turn into just another sappy boy-meets-girl tale by creating a wonderfully detailed environment complete with quirky characters.

“Amelie” aficionados will be more than pleased with the DVD release of the film. Included on the first disc are two audio commentaries by director Jeunet, one in English and the other in French. Jeunet’s English is hardly Winston Churchill but he does provide several insights into the production of the film. The French track has no subtitles, making the option completely useless to non-French speaking DVD enthusiasts. The remaining special features are found over on the crowded second disc.

Fans of Amelie herself will undoubtedly be disappointed with the mis-titled feature “The Fantasies of Audrey Tautou,” a series of bloopers and goofs of the gorgeous actress. Also included are the theatrical trailers, storyboards, screen tests, interviews and behind the scenes documentaries.

As one would expect from a recent film, the picture and sound quality of the DVD are top notch and virtually flawless. And good picture quality is essential to fully enjoying the physical perfection of actress Audrey Tautou.

“Amelie” is an impressive DVD and a more impressive film that is worthy of repeat viewings, if not simply to marvel at its eye appealing protagonist.

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