Two weeks ago, I made the fateful decision to cut the chord on my over-priced cable television provider and began streaming like any good 21st Century boy should. As part of that transition, I signed up for a Hulu Plus account. It literally took days to go through all of the "networks" on there to find the shows I wanted to watch. And once that was done, I started to look through the movies and was shocked to discover they had the Criterion Collection version of Zazie in the Metro.
This is a movie I've wanted to see for years, ever since I read the novel of the same title by Raymond Queneau. It is one of the funniest novels that I've ever read, starring a foul mouthed child and her wild escapades through Paris with her eccentric uncle during a Metro strike in the late '50s. After watching the film, I'm happy to say that the movie is nearly as delightful as the novel. It is a madcap series of visual gags that feel like a Looney Tunes episode come to life. Every frame is beautiful, with vibrant color and sets and a nod to mod style, and could be hung on the wall as art.
Catherine Demongeot as the title character plays the brash little girl to perfection. She's like Eloise if Eloise swore. Philippe Noiret as her uncle is also wonderful. This film was such a joy to watch, I was laughing almost all the way through. It's easy to see this film's impact on European filmmakers. The Beatles movies certainly seem to have take inspiration from the zaniness. But perhaps the most striking connection that I felt was how this movie captured the same spirit as many of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's films. There are elements of Amelie, Delicatessen, and Micmacs that are born from the passion for serious silliness found in Zazie. This is certainly a film that is not to be missed.