French film director Jean-Pierre Jeunet has legions of Japanese fans thanks to a certain film he made back in 2001. “I know this because I live near the café used in Amélie, and every day there are so many Japanese girls there,” Jeunet said during a recent visit to Japan.
The director explained how a poster from the film hung behind his favorite table is a popular photo op. On more than one occasion Japanese tourists have asked him to get out of the way of their cameras, not realizing they’re speaking to the man who made the film.
To the delight of his Japanese fan base, Jeunet brought his first English-language film, The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, to the Tokyo International Film Festival last month. The tale follows a boy inventor traveling alone from his family ranch in Montana to the Smithsonian.
“It is an American film, but it is a fake American film,” the director said. “The funding came from Canada and France.” The director came to the festival with 10-year-old star Kyle Catlett, who displayed his martial arts skills for the audience before saying he was thrilled to be in the land that gave birth to karate. The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet is now playing.