Monday, July 18, 2005

Jean-Pierre Jaunet returns after the blockbuster Amelie with another film featuring many of the same actors and nearly the same formula. Instead of a cheery quirky urban Montmartre setting, however, Un long dimanche de fiancelles takes place mostly in the trenches during la premiere guerre mondiale. Every frame of the film is saturated with tanin and yellow tints, evoking era photography; this world drained largely of primary colors is painful to inhabit, achieving a mood appropriate to an epoch when Europe almost destroyed itself.

Audrey Tautou is again superb--she's not the wilting wallflower Amelie, but the long-suffering polio-stricken Mathilde. She doubts her lover has been killed as claimed, and her quest to find out the truth provides the narrative frame for some rather gruesome combat recreations. Tautou proves again her depth--behind the irrestible dimples and deep dark eyes simmers a complicated soul.

I recommend A Very Long Engagement though I must admit Jaunet's use of CGI to saturate every shot is puzzling. The French countryside doesn't need computer noodling to look better when there are no special effects sequences.

J'ai trouve un peu choquant le fait que Jodie Foster eusse un role petit dans ce film. Nous vous manquons Jodie! Elle parle francais comme un Parisienne, et, comme d'habitude, elle est magnefique. BTW, does anyone know how to do accents in Blogger without resetting the keyboard to another language? Or laboriously cutting and pasting from Word symbols?