A Very Long Engagement

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A Very Long Engagement
A Very Long Engagement movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Produced by Francis Boespflug
Bill Gerber
Jean-Louis Monthieux
Fabienne Tsaï
Screenplay by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Guillaume Laurant
Based on Un long dimanche de fiançailles 
by Sébastien Japrisot
Starring Audrey Tautou
Gaspard Ulliel
Marion Cotillard
Dominique Pinon
Chantal Neuwirth
André Dussolier
Ticky Holgado
Jodie Foster
Music by Angelo Badalamenti
Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel
Edited by Hervé Schneid
Distributed by Warner Independent Pictures
Release dates
  • 27 October 2004 (2004-10-27)
Running time 133 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget $56.6 million
Box office $70,115,868

A Very Long Engagement (French: Un long dimanche de fiançailles) is a 2004 French romantic war film, co-written and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Audrey Tautou. It is a fictional tale about a young woman's desperate search for her fiancé who might have been killed during World War I. It was based on a novel of the same name, written by Sebastien Japrisot, first published in 1991.

Plot[edit]

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. She is all the while driven by the constant reminder of what her fiancé had carved into one of the bells of the church near their home, MMM for Manech Aime Mathilde (Manech Loves Mathilde; a pun on the French word aime, which is pronounced like the letter "M". In the English-language version, this is changed to "Manech's Marrying Mathilde").

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.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

A Very Long Engagement was filmed entirely in France over an 18-month period, with about 30 French actors, approximately 500 French technicians and more than 2,000 French extras.[1] Right before the film's New York City and Hollywood debut, the film's production company ("2003 Productions"), which is one-third owned by Warner Brothers and two-thirds owned by Warner France, was ruled an American production company by a French court, denying the studio $4.8 million in government incentives.[1]

In the film, Manech and Mathilde are from Brittany, whereas in the novel, they are from Cap-Breton, in the Landes department of southwest France.

Awards and reception[edit]

The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction and Academy Award for Best Cinematography at the Oscars. However, it was not selected by the French government as the French submission for the award for Best Foreign Language Film. Marion Cotillard won the César Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

The film received generally positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 77% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 140 reviews.[2] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 76 out of 100, based on 39 reviews.[3] The film had a production budget of $56.6 million USD and earned $70.1 million in theaters worldwide.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ben Sisario (compiler) (November 27, 2004). "Arts, Briefly". Agence France-Presse. The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  2. ^ "A Very Long Engagement - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 18 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  3. ^ "Very Long Engagement, A (2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 19 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  4. ^ "A Very Long Engagement (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 

External links[edit]