Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Very Long Engagement

Last night I watched A Very Long Engagement. A French war film made in 2003. The Director was Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the Composer was Angelo Badalamenti. The composing was superb. Jean-Pierre Jeunet is one of my favourite Directors having previously made Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children and Amelie.

From Wikipedia
"Five French soldiers are convicted of self-mutilation in order to escape military service during World War I. They are condemned to face near certain death in the no man's land between the French and German trench lines. It appears that all of them were killed in a subsequent battle, but Mathilde, the fiancée of one of the soldiers, refuses to give up hope and begins to uncover clues as to what actually took place on the battlefield. ...

Along the way, she discovers the brutally corrupt system used by the French government to deal with those who tried to escape the front. She also discovers the stories of the other men who were sentenced to the no man's land as a punishment. She, with the help of a private investigator, attempts to find out what happened to her fiancé. The story is told both from the point of view of the fiancée in Paris and the French countryside - mostly Brittany - of the 1920s, and through flashbacks to the battlefield.

Eventually Mathilde finds out her fiance is alive, but he suffers from amnesia. Seeing Mathilde, Manech seems to be oblivious of her. However, he still expresses concern for her when he notices her polio stricken legs, asking her "does it hurt when you walk ?" as he did when they first met. At this, Mathilde sits on the garden chair silently watching Manech with tears in her eyes and smile on her lips."

The 2 DVD set  contains the best "making of" documentary I have ever seen for a film. There are no sycophantic interviews on how great the actors or directors were. Just a lot of really useful stuff.

There are a lot of really cool film tricks in this movie.