The Widow of Saint-Pierre

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The Widow of Saint-Pierre
Theatrical poster
Directed by Patrice Leconte
Produced by Frédéric Brillion
Gilles Legrand
Daniel Louis
Denise Robert
Written by Claude Farraldo
Patrice Leconte
Starring Juliette Binoche
Daniel Auteuil
Emir Kusturica
Music by Pascal Estève
Cinematography Eduardo Serra
Edited by Joëlle Hache
Distributed by Pathé (France)
Film Four (UK)
Lionsgate (US)
Release date
  • 19 April 2000 (2000-04-19)
Running time
120 minutes
Country Canada
Language French
Budget $13 million[1]
Box office $7,074,234[2]

The Widow of Saint-Pierre (French: La veuve de Saint-Pierre) is a 2000 film by Patrice Leconte with Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil and Emir Kusturica. The film made its North American debut at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival. It was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 2001 for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was also nominated in 2001 for two César Awards.


In 1850, on the isolated French island of Saint-Pierre, a murder shocks the natives. Two fishermen are arrested. One of them, Louis Ollivier, dies in custody. The other, Neel Auguste (Emir Kusturica), is sentenced to death by the guillotine. However the island is so small that it has neither a guillotine nor an executioner. While one is sent for, Auguste is placed under the supervision of the army Captain (Daniel Auteuil).

While Auguste is under the captain's care, the wife of the captain, Madame La, (played by Juliette Binoche) takes an interest in the convict and begins to try to redeem him. Under her auspices, Auguste works hard and carries out a number of good deeds for the good of the community. The locals begin to see that he has changed, and Madame La begins a campaign to stop him from being executed. After a year of awaiting execution, Auguste has become a changed man.

When the guillotine finally arrives on the island, none of the islanders wants to be the executioner. However, Auguste remains a condemned man, and someone must be found to pull the lever on the guillotine. A newcomer arrives on the island who desperately needs money for his family. He agrees to become the executioner for money and housing but also takes on the social stigma of being the community's executioner. The guillotine arrives, and the townspeople are reluctant to help get it to shore, but, once they see Auguste helping to provide money for his family, the others take shifts, too. The Captain refuses to take Auguste to his execution and, because of this, is deemed treasonous and sentenced to death by firing squad. Both of the executions take place, and Madame La is shown alone and in mourning.


Awards and nominations[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Though set in the French colony of St Pierre and Miquelon, the movie was filmed on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.[4] The French title La Veuve de Saint-Pierre contains wordplay. "Veuve" translates to "Widow". In the 1800s the word was also slang for a guillotine.[5]


  1. ^ "The Widow of St. Pierre Box Office Data". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Widow of St. Pierre (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ "22nd Moscow International Film Festival (2000)". MIFF. Archived from the original on March 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  4. ^ Blog referring to the food prepared or the lead actor
  5. ^ Brown, Susan. "The Widow of Saint-Pierre (La Veuve de Saint-Pierre) (2001) < PopMatters". Retrieved 2010-06-28. 

External links[edit]