‘Amelie’ is one of my preferred movies of all times. It brought to my attention the fabulous actress who is Audrey Tautou and also director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. To a large extent ‘Un long dimanche de fiancailles’ plays on the same strings as ‘Amelie’ with Tautou carrying the burden of a complex feminine character which combines fragility and tenacity, and whose big eyes and timid smile dominate any frame she is in and radiate the openness and goodness of a kind but determinate person. At the same time the story based on a novel by Sebastien Japrisot also places the movie in a very select company of great anti-war films inspired by the first world war. Kubrick‘s ‘Paths of Glory’ and Losey‘s ‘King & Country’ are the two that come first to my mind. No wonder they were made in the 50s and 60s, as something in Jeunet’s style of telling the story and catching in poignant frames the horror of the trenches and the nightmare that war imposes on their heroes reminds the style of filming of the classical movies made half a century ago.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0344510/

 

Yet, ‘Un long dimanche de fiancailles‘ is also a very different kind of film. This is due to Tautou’s magnetism whose innocence and trust in love and goodness carries away the whole action and crosses the screen right into the hearts of the viewers. This is also because it is before and more than everything a love story. Last this is also due to the sophisticated story building of Japrisot, which brings back from forgiveness the fate of five soldiers who should have all died a non-honorable death in the cross-fires of the French and German front lines, punished for having let their basic human survival instinct prevail over the laws of the patriotic killing in war. As the investigation that Tautou’s Mathilde is running about the fate of her fiancee disappeared in the war progresses we are more and more immersed into the horror of the war and we start to live the fears and hopes of the human beings caught in the middle. Cinematography plays with a number of beautiful techniques and tricks which sometimes create memorable frames. Superb acting accompanies Tautou’s – Ticky Holgado in one of his last roles as detective Pire, Jerome Kircher as Bastoche, and Jodie Foster, guest starring as Elodie are among the best.

 

(video source jolty712)

 

In a recent interview Audrey Tautou spoke about quitting acting. This would be a terrible loss for the French cinema and cinema at large. Tautou merges in her eyes and smile the fragility and delicacy of the other Audrey, Hepburn and the inner light of Ingrid Bergman. She is one of the few actresses nowadays who can put life in any role she plays. Please, Audrey, change your mind!