A Fine Romance Friday: A Very Long Engagement

So I had some terribly exciting news yesterday, but in typical fashion, you’re going to have to wait for it. Believe me, it’s good.

In the meantime, in honor of Memorial Day, my fine romance Friday recommendation is A Very Long Engagement, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2004 drama about World War I, starring Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, and Marion Cotillard. It’s a really lovely movie — Jeunet and Tautou’s follow-up to the better-known Amelie — about a group of soldiers who shoot themselves during the Battle of the Somme in an attempt to get sent home from the front. They’re caught and face court martial. Tautou’s character, who suffered polio as a child, spends the movie attempting to figure out what happened to the men, one of whom is her fiance.

As you’d expect if you’ve seen Amelie, the film looks amazing. The cinematography, the costumes, the use of the French countryside, etc. are all gorgeous and do an excellent job setting the tone. The film is a triumph of mood, really, using color and music to create shifting atmospheres. It’s also oh so romantic as you wonder how precisely the central couple — Tautou and Ulliel — will get back to one another.

I’d recommend pairing it with a nice beaujolais and Adam Hochchild’s haunting non-fiction account of World War I, To End All Wars.

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