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A Very Long Engagement

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gaspard Ulliel, Jean-pierre Becker, Dominique Bettenfeld, Clovis Cornillac, Marion Cotillard
  • Directors: Jean-pierre Jeunet
  • Writers: Jean-pierre Jeunet, Guillaume Laurant
  • Producers: Jean-pierre Jeunet, Frances Boespflug, Jean-lou Monthieux
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 12, 2005
  • Run Time: 133 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007Z0NYQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,426 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Very Long Engagement" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes with Jean-Pierre Jeunet commentary
  • The Making of A Very Long Engagement featurette
  • Paris in the '20s documentary
  • Before the Explosion: a documentary about the Zeppelin explosion

Editorial Reviews

The film is set in France near the end of World War I in the deadly trenches of the Somme, in the gilded Parisien halls of power, and in the modest home of an indomitable provincial girl. It tells the story of this young woman's relentless, moving and sometimes comic search for her fiancC)e, who has disappeared. He is one of five French soldiers believed to have been court-martialed under mysterious circumstances and pushed out of an allied trench into an almost-certain death in no-man's land. What follows is an investigation into the arbitrary nature of secrecy, the absurdity of war, and the enduring passion, intuition and tenacity of the human heart.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes:With Director audio commentary
Documentaries:Paris in the 20'sThe Zepplin Explosion
Featurette:The Making of A Very Long Engagement
Theatrical Trailer

Customer Reviews

Good story, great acting, scenery, and special effects.
Steve Campbell
Director Jeunet creates a contrast of realities by cutting from the beautiful French countryside to the bustle of Paris, and of course to the WWI battlefield.
J. M. Wrenn
Tautou conveys the love her character feels which makes us believe in her quest.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

285 of 294 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Haschka TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 17, 2005
My understanding is that France has declined to submit A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT for Oscar consideration as 2004's Best Foreign Film. I can't imagine why.

War is not glorious. Especially if you're Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), a young French soldier convicted by a military court, along with four others, of committing self-mutilation with the intent of escaping service in the front lines of World War I. The punishment is grotesque. Rather than death by firing squad, the five are forced over the top of the most forward trench and into the No Man's Land between the French and German positions - there to die by whatever bullet, mortar shell, or bomb strikes them down. The subsequent deaths of all five are attested to. Letters are sent to surviving family members by the French authorities saying their boys died in battle. This was in 1917.

Mathilde (Audrey Tatou) was Manech's fiancée when he marched off to war. She's also crippled in one leg after having been afflicted with polio at a very young age. In 1920, she's contacted by a dying survivor of the war, ex-Sergeant Esperanza (Jean-Pierre Becker), who'd been in charge of the provost detail assigned to escort the five condemned men to the front trench, as well as act as carrier of the last missive each was permitted to write home. He tells Mathilde of their bizarre fate, and gives her their last letters, which he's kept since the war's end. Using these and the veteran's story to provide clues, Mathilde embarks on a lengthy search for the truth behind Manech's death with the help of a private investigator (Ticky Holgado). Interviewing friends, family members, and lovers of Marech's four condemned companions, as well as other soldiers present in the trench, Mathilde needs to answer the question, "Is Manech truly dead?
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105 of 114 people found the following review helpful By girldiver on January 15, 2005
Yes, I said, "lush". This movie visually encompasses the colors found in our most beautiful dreams and yet is in many aspects reflective in it's depiction of WWI through the eyes of the French. It is an epic tale of romantic hope during WWI that follows the investigative journey of a young woman named Mathilde played by Audrey Tatou (Amelie, Dirty Pretty Things) who is trying to find out what has happened to her lover.

Several plots are played out through out Mathildes' search. At first you blindly follow the scenes and then slowly the stories become knitted together as you discover along with Mathilde the truth her loves circumstance. I enjoyed the interweaving of the story and the wonderful directing that held this movie together so well by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, Alien Resurrection).

Most of all, I loved the cinematography. Thank you, Bruno Delbonnel! Mr. Delbonnel (The Cat's Meow, Amelie) created the visually lush colors in this film with his wonderful talent in the art of cinematoghraphy. This film is lush and beautiful with it's fabulous color in the country scenes to it dramatic sephia effect during the war scenes. Together with Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Mr. Delbonnel has created a wonderful film and piece of art.

Finally, I'd like to mention the supporting actors associated with this film: Jodie Foster, Julie Depardieu, Marion Cotillard, Gaspard Ulliel, Tcheky Karyo, and Clovis Cornillac. This is a wonderful french film with depth, beauty, hope, and like all the French films I've seen a quirky sense of humor that enhances the wonderful art of life.

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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 17, 2004
Sure, the name is an open target for dumb jokes. But Sébastien Japrisot's haunting romance "A Very Long Engagement" translates well onto the big screen, with a bit of help from "Amelie" director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the wonderful Audrey Tautou.

Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) is a pretty young girl who was left crippled by polio, and is being raised by her uncle and aunt. Before World War I, she fell in love with a boy called Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), but he was sent to the war and killed. Three years later, Mathilde gets a mysterious letter with shocking news: Manech was not killed in action, but condemned to death by being sent unarmed to the front lines -- and miraculously, he might still be alive.

Mathilde is determined to find her lover -- dead or alive -- and learn what really happened on that day three years ago. So she puts out ads in the papers, gathers accounts, and hires a detective to follow the cold trail. And slowly the gaps in the stories emerge, giving Mathilde clues to whether Manech died... and where he might be now.

"A Very Long Engagement" (French title: "Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles") diddles a few details from the novel, but is faithful to it in the ways that matter -- the "MMM" inscriptions, the non-linear storytelling, the horrors of World War I. In some ways, it seems almost impossible to transfer onto film without creating a pretentious mess -- but it wasn't.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet proves that "Amelie" was no fluke, but this time he relies mostly on visual artistry, rather than in magical realism. He also reminds us, by displaying the French countryside along with flashbacks of the front lines, that war is stupid and wasteful. But it's not an obvious, slam-in-your-face reminder. Like the romance, it's delicate and wistful.
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