Very Long Engagement

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Product Overview

A french woman searches for her fiance at the end of WWI. He is presumed dead when he is courtmartialed secretly and sentenced to almost certain death when is abandoned in no man's land. Despite the long odds, the woman continues to search for the love of her life.


Studio Warner
SKU 40712724
UPC 085393897222
UPC 14 00085393897222
Format DVD
Release Date 11/10/2009
Rating Rating
Theatrical Release
World War I
Editors Note
Note This World War I mystery finds limitless beauty in the nostalgia of loss. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, whose whimsical AMELIE riveted audiences, A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT also stars Audrey Tautou--the 21st century's Audrey Hepburn--in the stubbornly emotional role of a widow in denial. Here she is Mathilde, a waifish young woman with a pronounced limp from childhood polio. Living with her quirky aunt and uncle in a farmhouse by the sea, and waiting desperately for her fiance Manech (Gaspard Ulliel) to return from the war, she believes that if he were truly lost she would feel it in her heart. Thus, when the bad news arrives--Manech and five fellow soldiers were exiled to No Man's Land for shooting off their own fingers in hope of being discharged--Mathilde refuses to believe he is dead. Instead, she begins her own investigation into Manech's infantry, hiring a private detective and tracking down the wives and girlfriends of each of Manech's compatriots. Conducting countless interviews, Mathilde pieces together Manech's war stories--which are told in earthshaking flashbacks involving gruesome explosions, flying guts, and massive suffering. And yet, the all-in-this-together humanity of these awful scenes, and the heartfelt bravery with which Mathilde absorbs the details of each battle, is undeniably moving. Jodie Foster appears as Elodie, one of the widows, in a charismatic yet muted performance and with a flawless accent. However, the most intriguing of the widows is Tina Lombardi (Marion Cotillard), a thrilling dominatrix-assassin bent on avenging her lover. A timeless masterwork that raises the bar for breathtaking camerawork, vivid landscapes, and fantastical storytelling, A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT is adapted from the novel by Sebastien Japriscot.
Film Comment "The details become the discourse -- a constant flow of visual stimulation in place of the traditional development of plot, character, and theme." 12/01/2004 p.73-4
Premiere "[A]n epic treatment of epic themes that doesn't soap opera its audience, but at the same time provides a terrifically satisfying entertainment." 12/01/2004 p.26
Entertainment Weekly "[T]he counterpoint of ugliness and beauty, observed with the patience an artist might lavish upon a portrait of a beloved, is Jeunet's own invention." 12/03/2004 p.58-60
New York Times "Mr. Jeunet is in the possession of a distinctive visual style developed during his longtime collaboration with his former filmmaking partner, Marc Caro." 11/26/2004 p.E26
USA Today "[I]t's full of surprises....Jeunet is as adept as Francois Truffaut was in employing voice-over narration -- but even better at providing counterpoint imagery to get a laugh." 11/26/2004 p.3E
Los Angeles Times "[I]t's as charming and stylish as one could expect from this pair....All in all, Jeunet makes a pretty case for the idea that life is ruled by chaos and chance, but made meaningful and worthwhile by love." 11/26/2004 p.E1
Rolling Stone "Just sit back and behold as Jeunet the visionary and Tautou the force of nature take you to hell and back with this epic love story. It's an emotional powerhouse." 12/09/2004 p.190
Uncut "[T]his is as much visual feast as quest plot: Jeunet energises every shot..." 02/01/2005 p.102
Movieline's Hollywood Life "[T]he battle scenes depicting the horrors of war are brutally effective." 12/01/2004 p.103
Sight and Sound "Jeunet's film is a tour de force of style and talent..." 02/01/2005 p.77-8
Wall Street Journal ?Daring mood swings -- and theme swings -- lend distinction to Jean-Pierre Jeunet?s romantic epic....There?s never been anything quite like it.? 09/25/2009
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Gaspard Ulliel
Audrey Tautou
Cast & Crew
Aline Bonetto - Production Designer
Angelo Badalamenti - Original Music By
Audrey Tautou - Actor
Bill Gerber - Executive Producer
Bruno Delbonnel - Cinematographer
Gaspard Ulliel - Actor
Guillaume Laurant - Writer
Herve Schneid - Editor
Jean-Louis Monthieux - Executive Producer
Jean-Pierre Becker - Actor
Jean-Pierre Jeunet - Writer
Jean-Pierre Jeunet - Director
Jodie Foster - Actor
Sebastien Japrisot - Based On Novel By
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2004
Catalog ID 38972
UPC 00085393897222
Number of Discs 2
Running Time 133 minutes
Color Color
Original Language French
Available Subtitles English
Available Audio Tracks French
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  2.35:1
Oscar (2005) Aline Bonetto, Nominee, Best Achievement in Art Direction,Bruno Delbonnel, Nominee, Best Cinematography
ReviewSource James Berardinelli's ReelViews
Review A Very Long Engagment starts slowly, but builds to a satisfying conclusion. It's grittier tha
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 8
ReviewSource Rolling Stone
Review Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a miracle worker, a filmmaker whose soaring visuals and passionate intensity a
Reviewer Peter Travers
ReviewRating 8
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review This story is told in a film so visually delightful that only the horrors of war keep it from floati
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 8
DVD, Widescreen, French, English, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Actor Tautou,Audrey
Label Warner Home Video
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
James Berardinelli's ReelViews ...makes points about the absurdity of war, but balances those out by adopting the phrase that "love conquers all."
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone It's an emotional powerhouse.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times ...a film that is a series of delight us.

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