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Long Movie about a long Love Story

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  • Long Movie about a long Love Story

    Just seen Jeunet's new movie with Audrey Tautou, the beautiful actress best known as "Amأ©lie": A Very Long Engagement ("Un long dimanche de fianأ§ailles").
    Well, it is treally worth seeing, yet doesn't surprise you so much as the very sparkling "Amأ©lie"-movie of 2001. It is a little too focussed on displaying the performance of Audrey (no objection to seeing much of her) and thus neglects certain other strains of the story which would have made it an even better film. It is three films really: a "Love Story", an "Agatha Christie"-like detective story and a very strong anti-war film.
    The complex research of Mathilde and her helpers to find out what happened in Noman's Land to her beloved is pretty complicated and I would advise anyone not speaking very good French to watch a dubbed version, otherwise you might get thrown off the track. I seldom prefer this to subtitled films, but in this case I strongly advise it.
    Great characters again, as in "Amأ©lie", even very small parts wonderfully casted. A remarkable and too short appearance of Jodie Foster is another treat that you can look forward to.
    The film continues working in your head a couple of days on and that's a sign that it isn't anything insignificant.
    Enjoy!
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0344510/




    For those wanting to know more about military (in)justice applied during WW1 (which is at the core of this movie) here a website that exposes the farce of a system set up by gross ineptitude, and too often, by simple prejudice and intolerance.
    The webpage deals with the scandals that took place in the British armies during World War 1, but this highly sensitve subject is relevant to most countries, of course, that participated in WW1.
    http://www.shotatdawn.org.uk/
    Google ergo sum


  • #2
    Of course you know I'm (not literally) dying to see this film. The cinema chain that operates my local multiplex has the film, and is showing it in random towns across the country... the last time I went to the cinema (to see another French film, titled Look At Me in English) there was a poster with the tantalising promise: "Coming Soon"! But when???

    Unfortunately there's no way to see a "dubbed" version, as you recommend. Obviously subtitled versions are usually preferable, but I've found recently that (as you say) often the subtitles can move by so quickly that it's hard to keep track of the details. This was most noticeable during House of the Flying Daggers, and however bad my French is, my Mandarin is... well, non-existent. The sooner they invent those "universal translators" they have in Star Trek, the better!

    Still, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. I trust your judgement, so if it doesn't arrive on a screen near me, I might just have to buy the DVD...
    "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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    • #3
      Dee how are you going to understand the story if you can't take your eyes from Audrey in order to read the subtitles

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      • #4
        Um... won't they be reflected in her eyes? No? Then we'll just have to hope that she's such a good actress she can convey the entire story via her hair.
        "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
          ... there was a poster with the tantalising promise: "Coming Soon"! But when???
          Well, apparently "soon" is NOW!!! There's a single showing every night for the coming week. Hurrah!! All I have to do is destroy all snack food in the county and tape everyone's mouths shut, and things should go swimmingly...

          Edit: 1/3/05

          I had a little too much to drink last night (never let a member of the armed forces set the pace of the rounds) and I'm too tired to form complete thoughts, but I must see this film tonight. I'm hoping to mainline some chocolate and ride a sugar-rush through the whole two-and-a-bit hours... if I'm lucky I might slip into a Tautou-trance and have some sort of religious vision... of course, Audrey T is already a vision... oh, my poor aching brain...
          "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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          • #6
            Hurrah! I survived!

            Not in any fit state to be posting film reviews, but I just wanted to note how much I enjoyed this film overall. I doubt I will ever love any film as much as I love Amأ©lie, but I knew that going in to the cinema and certainly wasn't expecting a sequel, or an equal. Still it was fun to spot some of the recurring cast members from previous films (although I didn't recognise Jean-Claude Dreyfus's face, only his name in the end credits). As LEtranger has pointed out, there is quite a lot of investigation and information involved in the plot, and I did find my dim and dehydrated brain drifting now and again, but there's certainly enough humour and spirit to engage the viewer even if they aren't entirely clear on each and every fact. one chap in the audience even gave a little clap at the conclusion of the running joke about the postman's bicycle, which I've never heard in a cinema before!

            It didn't pluck at the heart strings quite as insistently as Amأ©lie, and to my mind was more of a "mystery" than a "romance", but it still had me sniffling here and there. I think it goes without saying that the film looked gorgeous (no, I'm not just talking about the lead actress) and that fans of Jean-Pierre Jeunet will enjoy the characteristic touches and flourishes. The performances were routinely excellent, and the dialogue had some poetry left in it, even after it had been reduced to English subtitles.

            I will certainly be watching the film again when it comes out on DVD, and will probably enjoy it more the second time, since I won't be struggling to catch up with the "clues". No doubt there are some who would prefer that
            Jeunet had stuck with surreal black comedies, but I for one am very glad that he is producing more "personal" projects, and I greatly look forward to his next film... whether Audrey is starring or not.

            Tired now. Need sleep... and my teeth need a damn good brushing!

            PS. War really is hell, isn't it? :(
            "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer

              PS. War really is hell, isn't it? :(
              As I said earlier, the movie isn't only a beautiful love story and a somewhat complicated mystery film, but also an effective anti-war statement.
              I'm so glad "A very Long Engagement" was your entrance fee's worth and you enjoyed it.
              I found it complicated to keep the short biographies of the five soldiers apart, especially as they were all soldiers, uniformed etc. But that part was important, also to catch on to what drives the "other women" ...
              It is one of the few films in which I would, for the sake of better understanding, advocate a good dubbed version. On the Franco-German culture channel ARTE you often have the choice to switch from the original to the translated version and back. In the era of digital TV it should soon be possible to do this with more than two language versions.
              I also loved the humour of Jeunet, absolutely brilliant! I also loved the ambiguity of the results of Mathilde's little tests, ... if this happens before being called to dinner, then ... and she never gets a clear, always a mixed response!
              Google ergo sum

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LEtranger
                As I said earlier, the movie isn't only a beautiful love story and a somewhat complicated mystery film, but also an effective anti-war statement.
                I agree... and, as fans of the final series of Blackadder will know, it isn't just the bullets you have to watch out for, but also the men who are sending you in to that hail of bullets... I think the film is very frank about how your "enemies" aren't the only people you need to fear...

                Originally posted by LEtranger
                I'm so glad "A very Long Engagement" was your entrance fee's worth and you enjoyed it.
                Absolutely... and it was clear that everyone around me was enjoying it as well. It's a shame it had such a limited release in my corner of the multiverse, but there were only about ten of us there, so perhaps it was wise?

                Originally posted by LEtranger
                I found it complicated to keep the short biographies of the five soldiers apart, especially as they were all soldiers, uniformed etc. But that part was important, also to catch on to what drives the "other women" ...
                Yes, it was tricky to keep the five soldiers apart, especially since the names and place names were so unfamiliar... but, as I say, I'm eager to watch the film again (not now, I can't see the same thing two nights in a row) and then perhaps it will all flow a little more smoothly in my mind. I'm all for non-linear story-telling, but it does help to have some vague grasp of the people and places involved!

                Now I've seen the film I've been catching up on all of the reviews that I cut out and kept without reading, and they are rather luke warm about it all. One commented that it was hard to follow the plot when the visuals were so beautiful, which I suppose is a fair comment, but it seems odd to criticise the visuals department for being too good at their jobs! There was also a rather sniffy rant (from [Sight & Sound my new least favourite magazine) (they actually print the entire story of the film next to the review, which just seems insane to me) about how Audrey T is always being represented as a child-woman with no sexuality. I'll agree that she was made to look younger than her years in the film, but her character (as far as I could tell) was supposed to be quite young... and she certainly wasn't asexual. I suppose it depends whether you see Romance as a part of fore-play or not. But I digress...

                Originally posted by LEtranger
                I also loved the humour of Jeunet, absolutely brilliant! I also loved the ambiguity of the results of Mathilde's little tests, ... if this happens before being called to dinner, then ... and she never gets a clear, always a mixed response!
                Yes, I love those little "superstitious" quirks he gave her, and the ambiguous results. He really is one of my favourite film-makers. I keep wanting to try to read and consider his critics in a mature and open way, but I always tend to skip over any negative comments... which I suppose is what he is often accused of doing in his films, skipping over the "negative"... but I'm finding it increasingly hard to care what critics (or award panels) have to say. Poo to them!
                "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes, skipping over negative comments - or pessimism in general - is surely part of the message and of the magic: Audrey/Mathilde could NOT win against all the odds if she had't retained some "innocence". It is the power of love, imagination and poetry that conquers. Those critics you mention expected to see yet another pseudo-realistic action movie, and have, alas, no idea of the power and virtues of magic.
                  The film was well reviewed here, by the way, by the German critics. Seems they got the point.
                  Google ergo sum

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well, according to one shopping site I use, we Brits will be getting a pretty good DVD edition of the film:

                    http://www.play.com/play247.asp?page...0790&p=57&g=72

                    And just in time for my B-Day! Hurrah!!!

                    (Note: Obviously other online stores are available)
                    "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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                    • #11
                      Ah, and just a few short months later, I finally pick up a copy! Found a great 3-disc set, which is two discs of Long Engagment and one of Amأ©lie. Of course I already had that, but I had a version with American subtitles, and wanted the English version instead (there is a difference, I swear). The case it comes in is rubbish though, with all three discs sitting on top of one another around a single spindle. 8O

                      This film makes much more sense the second time around, but none of the emotion is undimmed... or the general gorgeousness of Jeunet's (and his team's) vision. Hurrah!

                      Sadly this month my local cinema have got a fancy new logo, and stopped showing obscure/"foreign" films altogether. So it's future classics like Herbie: Fully Loaded from here on in. Merde!
                      "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
                        The case it comes in is rubbish though, with all three discs sitting on top of one another around a single spindle. 8O
                        I bought 25 'amaray' style cases for triple DVDs some time ago. They come with a central 'flipper' that you can put two DVDs on (one either side) as well as the standard 'clip' on the inside rear of the case. There's the usual clips for holding a booklet (or more usually a flyer advertising 'some other DVDs you may like to buy') as well. I should have some spare* and I'd be happy to send you one if you'd like, Dee.

                        Just LMK. :)

                        *If I can find them, that is. ;)
                        _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                        _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                        _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                        _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by demos99
                          I bought 25 'amaray' style cases for triple DVDs some time ago. They come with a central 'flipper' that you can put two DVDs on (one either side) as well as the standard 'clip' on the inside rear of the case.
                          That's what I expected to find inside, so I was quite stunned to find the discs so tightly packed together. In the end I put the Engagement discs in a double I had spare, and replaced the American Amأ©lie disc with the English one (the American edition comes in a really nice cardboard slip-case!)

                          Originally posted by demos99
                          I should have some spare and I'd be happy to send you one if you'd like, Dee.
                          That's very kind of you, but I'm sure I'll be fine. If I can't make room for my favourite films, then shame on me! :)

                          Forgot to mention, if anyone in the UK is interested, the set was on sale in HMV, for آ£12 (pounds), which is ridiculously good value... even with the cost of extra DVD cases! In fact it was cheaper than the individual editions of Engagement, so might be worth buying even if you already have the first film... you can pass your extra copy on to a friend! Give the gift of Amأ©lie this year...

                          Mini-review of second disc: The deleted scenes aren't especially exciting (mostly just deleted lines and shots from existing scenes), but the "making of" documentary is very interesting. Not nearly enough Audrey in the extras, but then there could never be "enough" Audrey. :D
                          "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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