[[quoteright:348:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1229066845_1.jpg]]

->''Who has stolen the child's dream?\\
The mad genius Krank in his evil scheme.\\
To what vicious depths will he not descend?\\
Will the tale turn to tragedy...\\
or have a happy end?''

''The City of Lost Children'' is a French science-fiction film following a circus strongman, One (played by Creator/RonPerlman), and a streetwise orphan, Miette, in their attempts to save One's adopted little brother from Krank, a mad scientist who steals dreams. It opened at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, and was directed by Creator/JeanPierreJeunet and Marc Caro, who also directed the similarly dark ''Film/{{Delicatessen}}''.

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!!This film provides examples of:

* AdorableEvilMinions: The six cloned brothers.
* AntiVillain: Krank suffers everything his victims do in his failed experiments, is totally incapable of understanding why even his kindest acts only frighten the children, is shown to be deeply affected by Uncle Irvin's insults, and [[spoiler:is the way he is because something went wrong in his creation]]. Even at his worst, his condition is so pitiable, it's heartbreaking.
* ArtificialHuman: [[spoiler:Krank and his compatriots.]]
* BadDreams
* BadSanta: When he invades the childrens' dreams, Krank often (unintentionally) appears this way.
* BigBrotherInstinct: One has this, first for Denrée and then for Miette. He identifies Denrée as his brother, but there's no genetic link between them. He found the kid in a garbage can.
* BigEater: Denrée. Played for cuteness.
* TheBigGuy: One, who is a circus strongman.
* TheBlindLeadingTheBlind: A literal example with the blind leader of the Cyclops preaching to the others that they will eventually regain their sight by following his orders.
* [[BrainInAJar Brain in a Fishtank]]: Uncle Irvin.
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: [[spoiler:One becomes brainwashed by the Octopus and almost kills Miette.]]
* CannotDream: Krank's dire dilemma that sets off the plot.
* CityWithNoName
* CloningBlues: Six cloned brothers serve Krank, and they're not sure which is the original. [[spoiler:It's none of them -- it's the Diver.]]
* ConjoinedTwins: The Octopus.
* ConspicuousCGI: Arguably, the flea. Also, the green smoke.
* CrapsackWorld: The city is depicted as ugly and polluted and bearing an extremely grim atmosphere, the police force is incompetent enough so that children are constantly kidnapped by Krank's associates, the Cyclops organization practically terrorizes the entire city and no one seems to have guts to stop them and citizens are occasionally mugged by the kids under the control of the Octopus.
* CreepyCircusMusic: Marcello's music box, which additionally hypnotizes drugged victims into violence.
* CreepyTwins: The creepy twin teachers speaking in unison.
* DisasterDominoes: Inverted; an elaborate series of chained events [[spoiler:ends up saving One and Miette from the Octopus]].
* DreamStealer: What Krank has become.
* DumbMuscle: It's strongly suggested that One is developmentally challenged.
* EmotionlessGirl: Miette starts off as this.
* TheFagin: The Octopus's side job.
* FauxFluency: Creator/RonPerlman was the only American in the film and memorized all his lines, since he did not speak French. He did an excellent job from all accounts.
* GentleGiant: One.
* [[spoiler:HoistByHisOwnPetard: The Octopus, Krank, and the Diver.]]
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: One and Miette. Also Krank and Martha (Mademoiselle Bismuth).
* {{Hulkspeak}}: One
* InstrumentOfMurder: The music box.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: One and Miette.
* IrisOut: The movie ends with this visual effect.
* LittlePeopleAreSurreal: Martha adds on to the overall bizarre cast of characters
* MadScientist: Krank [[spoiler:and his creator, the Diver]].
* ManipulativeBastard: Uncle Irving turns out to be this.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: The Cyclops leader has more than a touch of Hitler in his oration. His appearance is also more than a little reminiscent of [[CommieNazis Chairman Mao]].
* OlderThanTheyLook: Krank's dreaming incapability is causing him to age rapidly.
* {{Ouroboros}}: Also a case of SymbolMotifClothing. Towards the end, there is a close-up of Krank's ring that shows a serpent eating it's own tail, which represents life, death, self-destruction and immortality.
* RapidAging: [[spoiler: what ends up happening to Krank and Miette in the dreamworld.]]This is happening to Krank at a slower pace due to his inability to dream.
* SerpentOfImmortality: See Ouroboros above.
* SingleMindedTwins: The Octopus, a pair of conjoined twins.
* SkywardScream: One does this when [[spoiler:he thinks Miette has drowned]].
* SleepyHead: The six clones were created with a narcoleptic-like "sleeping sickness" that causes to doze off randomly
* SteamPunk / DieselPunk: Sort of.
* SuicideAttack: [[spoiler:The Diver blows up the lab with a suicide bombing at the end.]]
** [[spoiler:HesitantSacrifice: ... At least, that was his original plan. Seeing his notes drift into the sea makes him change his mind, and he frantically calls out to his clones and Uncle Irvin, who [[ScrewThisImOutOfHere are busy following One and the kids back to the city]]. Then a seagull lands on the plunger for his dynamite...]]
* TearsOfRemorse: Marcello when confronted by Miette[[spoiler: who he left to die under order of the Octopus.]]
* TurnedAgainstTheirMasters: Apart of the creators origin.
* TwinTelepathy: The Octopus, to the point of being practically a HiveMind.
* WaterIsAir: The Diver lives permanently at the bottom of the sea near the harbor, collecting flotsam, jetsam and derelict.
* WiseBeyondTheirYears: Miette, who considers One to be ''her'' little brother.
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