Little Amélie

Film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

On September 3, 1973, at 6:28 PM and 32 seconds, a blue fly of the Calliphorides species, whose wings can flutter 14,670  times per minute landed in Saint-Vincent Street, Montmartre. 

At the exact same second, outside a restaurant, the wind was sweeping in under a tablecloth, causing the glasses to dance without anybody noticing it.

At the same time, on the fifth floor of Avenue Trudaine, Eugène Koler erased the name of his best friend, Émile Maginot, in his adress-book after coming home from his funeral.

Still at the same second, a spermatozoon containing an X-chromosome and belonging to M. Raphaël Poulain was reaching the ovum of Mrs Poulain, born Amandine Fouet.

Months later a girl was born: Amélie Poulain.

Amélie’s only refuge is the world she makes up. In that world, vinyls are made the same way as pancakes, and the neighbour’s wife, who has been in a coma for months, just decided to do all her sleeping at once.

One of the films that can encapsulate how I am as a little is Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001). The montages are some of my favourite scenes, especially as they depict the ordinariness of things, and how lovely they are by themselves.

These seemingly unnoticeable non-events serve as a framework for the overall narrative, but they are also a celebration of life and the imagination.

I was a lonely child—but I had my mind and my own company, and so in a way, I was fine. That might sound terrible, and it can be, when I look at it in a different lens—but today I choose to remember small joys: riding a red bicycle straight into gutters, earning me scrapes and bruises; inventing a code of signs and symbols as my new alphabet, and writing for an entire year that way in my green diary; reading books upside down all afternoon, even the telephone directory; and so on.

I mostly didn’t have a childhood, so I’m glad for whatever good memories I did have. I think of that little girl now—she is with me, oh with me, always.

T. xx

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