Jean-Pierre Jeunet is known these days as a director in his own right but he started out working in collaboration with Marc Caro, a writing and directing partnership that lasted up to The City of Lost Children in 1995. Given how much I enjoyed that film, and their earlier Delicatessen (1991), I suspect it’s Caro’s sensibility I respond to. I loathed Jeunet’s Alien Resurrection so much I refuse to watch it again (for me the Alien series ends with Ripley’s swan dive at the end of the third film), and I’ve shunned Amelie and everything he’s done since.
The Bunker of the Last Gunshots (1981) is an early Caro/Jeunet work set in the same retro environment as Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, with equally eccentric or unpleasant characters and the same antiquated technology. There’s no dialogue, and the narrative is conveyed obliquely at best. Even more than their feature films this is a vehicle for conveying a mood, the concern here being less with story and more with monochrome visuals, chiaroscuro lighting and bits of grotesquery among the all-male inhabitants of a bunker from some unspecified war. For a low-budget piece it’s very assured, and if you’d seen this in 1981 you’d be expecting the pair to go on to bigger and better things. The Bunker of the Last Gunshots runs for 25 minutes; there’s a rough copy on YouTube or a better one at Vimeo.