Thursday, August 04, 2005

"A Very Long Engagement"

Subject: Cinema
Audrey Tatou returns as the lead, reprising her "Amelie" role in the recent DVD release of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film "A Very Long Engagement".

By "reprise" I mean that she's yet again the lead actress in a Jeunet film; not that the character, or the film for that matter, is the same as "Amelie".

But there are similarities.

Really, though -- these are different films. "Amelie" set in modern-day Paris is whimsical, almost frivolous; "Engagement" is set in the time shortly after World War I in France, with many a flashback to the nasty, foul, brutal trenches of that conflict. The entrancing Mme. Tatou plays a young woman who's fiance may or may not have been killed during a particular incident in said trenches, but she clings to hope that he is still alive. And sets out to unravel a mystery behind the events that occured.

So while the story, and the characters, are rather different, there's a lot of familiar technique to be found from "Amelie". The bits of connected "micro-histories" presented by the narrator, flashes of vintage film to illustrate certain points, the little quirks in the side-characters, and heck, even the whole sleuthing-and-clues aspect driving the story -- very similar, very familiar.

His earlier film, "The City of Lost Children", quirky and intersting that it is, doesn't quite fit the same mold. Though I suppose if I rewatch it again, maybe I'll spot something.

But at any rate, "Engagement" is still an amazingly wonderful bit of cinema. Captivating. Engrossing. The attention to detail, the texture... Fantastic. I'm really liking what Jeunet is doing, and it's getting to the point where I want to learn more about him.

And Mme. Audrey Tatou, should she be available, well... *blush*

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