Five desperate French soldiers during The Battle of the Somme shoot themselves, either by accident or with purpose, in order to be invalided back home. Having been "caught" a court-martial convenes and determines punishment to be banishment to No Man's Land with the objective of having the Germans finish them off. In the process of telling this tale each man's life is briefly explored along with their next of kin as Methilde, fiancée to one of the men, tries to determine the circumstances of her lover's death. This task is not made any easier for her due to a bout with polio as a child. Along the way she discovers the heights and depths of the human soul. Written by
Jean-Pierre Jeunet met Jodie Foster as she was supervising the dubbed version of Panic Room (2002). The main roles were already taken but Jodie Foster agreed to star in a little role, as Elodie Gordes. She speaks French fluently, so she acted with her own voice. See more »
Mathilde was born on January 1, 1900. At least twice in the course of the film we are told that Manech is only 1 year older than her. However, the voiceover at the beginning as Manech is being led through the trench with the other prisoners in January 1917 informs us that Manech is "five months shy of 20," putting his birth date in June of 1897 and making him two and a half years older than Mathilde.
On the other hand, he could have lied on his real age in order to be conscripted - the voice-over citing actual records, Manech could have insisted to be sent, and had his age modified on records. See more »
An epic love story on a World War I background. Far from Amelie, the team Jeunet/Tautou demonstrates his talent, showing with poetry love and war, beauty and horror, sweetness and violence. Mathilde and Manech, played by the stunning Audrey Tautou and the new French heart-throb Gaspard Ulliel, are the ideal lovers, determinate, passionate, separated by destiny, hoping...because hope is the message, the only one of a film where love is giving and giving again. If you loved Cold Mountain you will adore "A very long engagement". If don't know yet what it is to hold someone's heart in your hand, to feel the beatings of somebody's heart like the Morse alphabet, this movie will explain it to you, and you never will be the same anymore.
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