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Film / Delicatessen

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Long Pork, anyone?

A 1991 French Black Comedy directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic apartment building in a France of an ambiguous time period, and focuses on the tenants of the apartment building and their desperate bids to survive. The protagonist, a former circus artist named Louison, arrives to replace a tenant whose reason for departure is initially unclear. However, it is gradually revealed that the building owner, Clapet, is luring unemployed people to murder them and use them as a source of food for his tenants. Louison's only hope for salvation is Julie, Clapet's daughter who doesn't agree with her father's actions and is also in love with Louison, and a vegetarian rebel group known as the Troglodistes who agree to help Julie rescue Louison in exchange for Clapet's grain stores.


Delicatessen provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Where the Troglodistes live.
  • After the End: Vaguely.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: The Troglodistes use suction cups to climb up the ducts of the apartment, running into some problems as they do so.
  • Almost Kiss: When Louison and Julie are holding the door, and a spear suddenly goes through it, between them.
  • Antenna Adjusting: The TV sets in the apartment rarely get a good signal. When Clapet enacts his plan to kill Louison, he violently shakes the rooftop antenna so that he will come to the roof to fix it. When the antenna gets used as an Improvised Weapon and the two wrestle with it, it's Played for Laughs when Madame Tapioca shouts up directions at them about how to adjust it.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: When Mademoiselle Plusse is accidentally kidnapped by the Troglodistes instead of Louison, she initially resists because she's expecting them to rape her. However, they all suddenly leave to raid the apartment while leaving her tied up below ground, causing her to become outraged that they're just going to forget about her.
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  • Attempted Rape: Postman tries to force himself on Julie, but Louison manages to stop him.
  • Ax-Crazy: Clapet
  • Bittersweet Ending: Clapet's reign of terror may be over, but there's a finite supply of corn and it won't hold out forever. However, the yellow gas is less oppressive in the final scene.
  • Bungled Suicide: Aurore's suicide plans are repeatedly ruined at the last second by some random event. Except for the last one, and its success didn't even have anything to do with her.
  • The Butcher: Clapet's occupation. He's called Le Boucher, and he butchers people.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The boomerang. It serves first to get back Mademoiselle Plusse's panties, but also at the end to kill Clapet.
  • Crapsack World
  • Credits-Brand Products: The original opening credits using household items to display cast and crew names.
  • Dirty Kid: Both of the Tapioca boys.
  • Dirty Old Man: The Frog Man.
  • Driven to Suicide: Aurore hears voices constantly telling her to kill herself, which drives her to construct ever more complicated ways of doing it, all of which fail. Her final method involves her swallowing pills while facing a gun set to go off, while she stands with her neck in a noose, with the gas on and a lit Molotov cocktail just under her stool. Ironically enough her actual death is caused accidentally after all the methods involved cancel each other out, except for the gas, which is ignited when her husband tries to turn the light on.
  • Drowning Pit: Louison and Julie lock themselves in a bathroom, waterproof the room with their clothes, and then break open the pipes. It's a trap for Clapet and the tennants who are trying to break in, but they will drown inside if the door isn't opened in time.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Aurore constructs a rather elaborate way of doing this to commit suicide, lying in the bathtub and attaching the motor of a sewing machine to the doorbell, so that when someone rings the bell the sewing machine pulls a piece of cloth down, with a lamp balanced on the end of it so the lamp is pulled closer to the tub. It doesn't work because Louison bangs the bed in the next room against the wall, causing the lamp to come unplugged and fall into the bath harmlessly.
  • Epic Fail: Aurore's final suicide attempt, in which multiple redundant methods cancel each other out. To add insult to injury, she and her husband subsequently blow themselves up completely by accident.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Clapet loves his daughter and tries the best to make her happy, despite she is greatly against his methods of feeding the tenants.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Was better, before Dr. Livingstone got eaten.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Played with. Julie takes her glasses off when she first invites Louison to her room for tea. Without them she can't see a thing and ends up overfilling their teacups and breaking a vase. She eventually ditches them for contact lenses. God knows how she got her hands on those.
  • Hearing Voices: Aurore hears voices which tell her to kill herself. They are actually caused by her neighbor Roger.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Clapet is killed by his own throw of the Australian.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Humanitarianism seems to have had an unexpected surge in popularity After the End.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Resounds all through the house.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: After getting the Australian lodged in his forehead when he attempted to throw it at Louison, Clapet staggers for a couple minutes—bewildered but not obviously in pain—asking those present if he has something stuck in his head.
  • Meganekko: Julie, who worries that her glasses make her unattractive even though she's as blind as a bat without them.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Louison's previous job, which he quit when his chimpanzee partner Dr. Livingstone was eaten.
  • One-Word Title
  • Panty Thief: The two boys steal Mademoiselle Plusse's panties from the clothes line using a fishing hook, much to her consternation.
  • The Place
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Australian, a bizarrely designed throwing knife that returns to it's thrower without fail.
  • La Résistance: The Troglodistes.
  • Right Through the Wall: The sound of creaking bedsprings travels through the whole apartment. Afterwards Louison is asked to look at the problem and make the springs stop squeaking.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Ensues during the climax.
  • Serendipitous Symphony: Clapet and Mademoiselle Plusse's rhythmically creaking bedsprings cause Julie's cello playing, Madame Tapioca's rug-beating, Robert and Roger's shop work, and Marcel's bicycle pumping to unconsciously synchronize. As the creaking becomes more frantic everybody speeds up with them.
  • Suicide as Comedy: Aurore's repeatedly unsuccessful attempts to kill herself.
  • Trash the Set: Large parts of the building are demolished during the climactic fight.
  • Underwater Kiss: Between Julie and Louison when they flood themselves in the bathroom.
  • Video Credits


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