Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Movie of the Month- "A Very Long Engagement"

The dynamic French duo of Audrey Tautou (Amelie, Da Vinci Code) and Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, Alien Resurrection) team up again for 2004's World War I, part romance, part war, part mystery and even part comedy A Very Long Engagement. With the month of May being synonymous for weddings, this was the perfect fit to observe for the movie of the month. This film tells the story of a young woman, Mathilde, who is on a quest to find her fiancee after rumors have reached her sleepy French town that he has died while fighting the war and that he body is missing. Mathilde refuses to believe her fiancee is long gone and goes on a quest all over France to find him. Now I know you maybe thinking, this is a cheesy epic love story that we have seen time and time again...NO it most certainly is not. The film opens on the beaches of worn torn France and a dismembered Jesus Christ is hanging off a Crucifix and immediately you are locked in and sucked into the grueling trench war fare of the first Great War. Unlike many war-love stories, A Very Long Engagement shows more of the brutalities of war, with soldiers stealing items off of dead bodies in order to survive the trenches, as well as men self mutilating themselves to they can get back home, it also explores how the French government treated their soldiers as if they were disposable chess pawns. The film also looks at the brutalities of those not fighting the war, but have loved ones in the battle fields, much like Mathilde. With the great acting of Tautou and the creative and visionary directing of Jeunet (one of the best directors in the business today), this is a film not to be overlooked. The cinematography is flawless and at points you will feel as if you are watching a moving painting rather than a motion picture, and only a director like Jeunet can provide a beautiful ending while outlining and telling the horrors of war.