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Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Canada

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A Very Long Engagement

Chris Campbell

A Very Long EngagementJean-Pierre Jeunet's films have a very distinctive look and an obsessive attention to detail that result in the creation of gorgeous cinematic worlds. I was completely amazed when I saw Delicatessen which was dark and funny. I also loved Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain, which almost seemed to be built around Audrey Tatou's eyes. In A Very Long Engagement (Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles) we have a story that mixes both the dark and light in a feast for the eyes. You want to savour every frame. I'm a sucker for sappy romance done well and I was completely sucked in. Combining the darkness of World War I with a romantic story is a fascinating way to explore how war affects those who fight and those who are left behind.
For Jeunet it seems as if casting is a very important step and the actors, costumes, sets, and even the lenses and lighting are all perfectly matched. Any film with epic, sweeping shots risks alienating the audience as you look at the technique and lose the story, but I never dropped out once I entered the world. The frames of the film look as though they are painted, but it's not a series of paintings. There are some wonderful moments between the characters with a diverse range of pseudo-archival photography and footage as well as seamless effects integration. A wonderful film that I'm glad I was able to see in a theatre.
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