Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles
The 2004 French film Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, stars Audrey Tautou as Mathilde, a young girl searching for her fiancée Manech (Gaspard Ulliel) who has disappeared in the wake of World War One. Everyone believes he has died after being court-marshalled, but Mathilde refuses to believe it, clinging to little strands of hope as she delves deep into the mystery surrounding her fiancée, herself, and the people she meets along the way. What originally drew me in was the casting of Audrey Tautou as the main character. I loved her in Amelie and À la Folie... Pas du Tout and I was anxious to see her in this role which seemed completely different from her quirky characters in those other two films. I wasn’t disappointed; I absolutely loved her in this film! In some minor ways her character reminded me of her role as Angélique. Both Angélique and Mathilde were young girls obsessed with love and their own ideas that they refused to view as false no matter how much people tried to convince them otherwise. The difference in their obsessions is that while Angélique was psychotically unstable, Mathilde wasn’t, even though many people thought she had to be to keep pursuing a lost cause.
After the initial draw of Audrey Tautou, the plot, mise-en-scene, and visual effects kept me hooked. I thought the film was visually stunning and was extremely realistic at portraying the time period. Every aspect from the music and lighting to the sets and costumes combine to almost transport you to early 1900’s France, pre, during, and post-World War One. While extremely realistic, the filmmakers also managed to throw in some Méliès-esque special effects. As far as the plot goes, when the movie opened I was immediately turned off and almost stopped watching. The opening was extremely disturbing and too gory for my tastes as it all too accurately depicted trench life and the horrors of war. I honestly thought I was going...
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