Sunday, January 30, 2005

Film — A Very Long Engagment

It's been a Great War week, having seen Journey's End at the Arts on Tuesday; and now this, which I had seen being advertised as Un long dimanche de fiançailles while we were in Paris in the autumn.

For once a film from Jeunet that isn't comedy of some degree of blackness (comedy only in the older sense of happy outcome); though there are familiar faces in the ensemble from previous works (Dominique Pinon, who appeared many times in The City of Lost Children, as well as Audrey Tautou from Amelie again in the lead). And while Journey's End has everyone acting honourably and dying in the end, here we have layers of deceit that led to the survival of Mathilde's fiancé Manech, despite an explicit judicial condemnation to death by exposure in no-man's-land.

Well, being a century baby, like Elijah Snow or Axel Brass, we know that the intuition Mathilde has that Manech survived will prove true, though the unravelling of the truth makes this a low key weepie. Personally, I would have ended the film about 30 seconds earlier, with Mathilde standing at the garden door, looking out at Manech, rather than any of the inevitable anti-climax of the encounter.

I will say #insert <std::rant-about-sex-scenes> — if I wanted that sort of thing I could get the real deal on the 'net. Otherwise, what's wrong with implication and understatement? Books seem to have outgrown that particular fashion : when will cinema follow suit?

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