Somewhere in the mist-shrouded future of France, Louison (Pinon), a grieving ex-clown takes a job as janitor in a crumbling apartment block. Unbeknown to him, this job has a history and previous incumbents have ended up on the neighbour's dinner table via the butcher's block. When Louison innocently falls for the butcher's myopic daughter, the knife is held back to spare her feelings. But as bellies begin to rumble, will love be enough to keep Louison out of le charcuterie?
This troubled romance provides the bare skeleton on which Jeunet and Caro hang their dreams. A hugely enjoyable film, "Delicatessen" welds comedy and magic into a bizarre, grotesque fantasy of an oddball dystopian future.
The directors are constantly playing curveball with the audience's expectations and nothing can prepare you for the sheer weirdness of it all. Every so often, the plot stops to watch a scene spiral off at a tangent, such as a rhythm of creaking beds rippling out through the hotel, or two boys spying on a old man breeding escargots in his flooded apartment.
Combining the cruel humour of Grimm's fairy stories, with the spirit of Terry Gilliam and that peculiarly French knack of putting magic into film, this feverish tale of star-crossed lovers and small town cannibalism has endured as a true masterpiece of the fantastique. With "Delicatessen", Jeunet and Caro gave the world a canny and confident calling card for that most coveted of talents - commercial arthouse cinema. Brilliant.