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La veuve de Saint-Pierre - DVD [2000]

Juliette Binoche , Michel Duchaussoy , Patrice Leconte    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: £10.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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La veuve de Saint-Pierre - DVD [2000] + La Reine Margot [DVD] [1995] + Camille Claudel [1988] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Juliette Binoche, Michel Duchaussoy, Marc Beland, Christian Charmetant, Philippe Du Janerand
  • Directors: Patrice Leconte
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Park Circus
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Jun 2011
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004PG9G8C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,659 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A must for fans of director Patrice Leconte, this world cinema gem stars Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil in a story set on Saint-Pierre, a forgotten small island near Canada, in 1850. Neel Auguste is found guilty and condemned to death, but there is neither a guillotine, nor an executioner to carry out the sentence. While waiting for a guillotine to arrive from France, Neel is placed under the custody of the Captain and his wife Pauline. Little by little, the condemned man becomes indispensable and his popularity soars. But when the guillotine arrives by boat, justice must be done and the battle to save Neel's life escalates. This DVD edition features a restored version of the film along with the following extras:

  • Interview with Juliette Binoche
  • Theatrical Trailer


The "widow" referred to in the title of La Veuve de Saint-Pierre isn't a woman, but a mechanism--to be exact, the guillotine, (though the title does take on a second meaning in the tragic final moments of the film). We're on the island of Saint-Pierre, a tiny forgotten French colony off the coast of Newfoundland, midway through the 19th century. A senseless drunken murder is committed and the killer is condemned to death, but zut alors!, there's no guillotine on the island. So one must be requested from the slow, bureaucratic authorities in Paris and, once approved, laboriously shipped over. Meanwhile the killer, a simple-minded giant of a man, is placed in the custody of the Captain, whose beautiful wife starts taking an interest in the prisoner.

Director Patrice Leconte has always had an acute feel for place and period--he directed the mordantly witty costume drama Ridicule--and La Veuve vividly captures the sense of remoteness and resentful isolation of this blizzard-swept community. The brooding landscape, all slate-blues and greys, is beautifully framed by Eduardo Serra's camera, and Leconte draws affecting performances from his central trio of actors: Daniel Auteuil, with his intriguingly lopsided face, as the Captain; Juliette Binoche, radiantly vulnerable as his wife; and, in an unexpected but remarkably successful bit of casting, Serbian film director Emir Kusturica as the condemned man. La Veuve de Saint-Pierre may be a touch over-solemn at times, and its message is hardly unexpected; but it's an intelligent, engrossing and richly atmospheric piece of filmmaking. --Philip Kemp --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric Historical Drama 16 Jan 2006
By L. Davidson VINE VOICE
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"La Veuve de Saint Pierre" is a film based on actual events that took place in 1850 in a remote French speaking island just off the coast of Newfoundland. A drunken fisherman commits a brutal murder and is sentenced to death, but his death is delayed by both the absence of a guillotine and an executioner on the island. In the meantime the prisoner catches the eye of the wife of the Captain of the garrison from his cell in the barracks where her and her husband's living quarters are also located She then befriends the condemned man and tries to redeem him, but time starts to run out for the prisoner as the authorities press for his execution. "La Veuve" is an evocative film, well acted and filmed with an intriguing storyline. For me the highlight of the film was the close relationship between the Captain (Daniel Auteil) and his wife Madame La (Juliette Binoche), two non-conformist liberals who presumably had been exiled to this remote outpost of the French Republic for their anti-establishment attitudes.They put their necks on the line for the killer, almost as if they were deliberately looking to bring down the wrath of the French authorities upon themselves. Auteil is particularly impressive as the captain, although I wasn't altogether convinced by the motivation of Binoche's character. I couldn't quite believe that she would wish to develop a close relationship with a dishevelled ,brutal murderer and risk her own marriage and happiness for him, when she appears to be so blissfully content with her dashing husband. The pair certainly lived up to the French ideals of "Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite" anyway. A quality film which maintains suspense and interest right up to the end.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars French Masterpiece 7 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
A movie that contains all the emotions that one comes to expect from Classic French cinema. A joy to watch as a story unfolds in front of your eyes and draws you to its harrowing conclusion. Superb acting, excellent direction and cinematography add to the storyline. The period nature of the story is fantastically reflected in the detail of the wardrobe, and the sets.
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Black Widow 21 Jun 2001
By A Customer
From the moment this intriguing film opens, nothing is as it seems. A man,convicted of murder and sentenced to death, is placed under the care of the captain of the island. His wife sets out to redeem him and ultimatley begins a fatalistic attempt to save him from death. But this is an ambiguous story and we are forced to question her motives. Is she being unfaithful, in her heart if not psychically? Is she merely testing her husband boundaries? The film doesn't answer the questions, and it shouldn't. As Madam La Juliette Binoche gives a fine decorious performance. As usual she is deeply committed to her role, and it shows. Watching Binoche now we begin to realise that in time her name will be mentioned alongside Garbo and the other classic faces of cinema.
The DVD is beuatifully transfered with a two channel sound track which is so well mixed it resembles a 5.1 mix.
In the end La Veuve de Saint-Pierre is old fashioned entertainment in style with a decidedly contemporary edge. Highly recomended.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great pairing 20 May 2003
By N. K.
Auteil and Binoche are superb. Absorbing gritty realistic drama performed in the classic French cinema genre. This is a powerful period drama in the style of 'The return of Martin Guerre'. An absence of swearing is refreshing. Auteil's character is manly and courageous, and Binoche's is feminine and compassionate. Scrupulous integrity is the mark of both characters. Its definitely not Hollywood!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rocking the boat. 15 Mar 2008
When Juliette Binoche appears in a film, you expect a solid performance - and this French classic is no exception. She's the only really familiar face and is convincing as the liberal Madame La. Her relationship with equally the liberal Capitaine manages to portray the `troublemaker' status the couple have and you quickly realise why they are on the remote island of St. Pierre rather than stirring up the establishment back in Paris. Daniel Auteuil as the Captain is equally as strong on screen, his intense, understated performance is perfect for the role.

The film seems very much concerned with the struggle between the younger new-thinkers and the stuffy imperial bureaucracy; this is highlighted by the politics between The Capitaine / Madame La and the authorities.

Two men are drunk and thuggishly kill one of the islanders, in court they are frank about what they did and appear to show no remorse. As a viewer, you don't expect to be captivated by one of those men for the duration of the film. But you are. Neel Auguste is held in the barracks whilst St. Pierre awaits the arrival of the guillotine. And this being 1850 - things take time, Auguste becomes a friend of Madame La and the Capitaine, and their non-conformist ways raise a few eyebrows when he is allowed to tend the garden with Madame La, eventually becoming an all round odd-job man for the people of St. Pierre.

The strength of this film lies in the way we become fond of Auguste and understand that this isn't the same man who commited the crime - now sober, respected, even loved by the Islanders, you are watching a condemned local celebrity. His tenderness and deep ethics tug at the heartstrings when you consider his fate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Feels older than 2000
It felt like a film version of a novel, going through the scenes, and losing the believability that a novel can have. The dialogue is a little stilted. Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. V. Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars great for your French
I am not sure if it a fault on my DVD player (I think not) but whilst there are sub-titles for this film; they are few and far between. Read more
Published on 1 Dec 2011 by K. Glaister
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange, but compelling story
If one didn't know that this was a true story it would be hard to believe. The acting is excellent, the framing and colour of the filming beautiful. Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2008 by Bluebell
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning - you won't forget it in a hurry
La Veuve de Saint Pierre was absolutley stunning - I was captivated by the cinematography from the outset. Read more
Published on 4 Aug 2008 by K. Joslin
5.0 out of 5 stars touching
I usually watch spanish rather than french films, and love films with sad endings, so I wasn't dissappointed. Read more
Published on 7 Nov 2007 by Mr. I. Dodkins
4.0 out of 5 stars an island tragedy
If one did not know that the story was based on the record of real events on this small fishermen's island off the coast of Canada it might be difficult to believe in the two main... Read more
Published on 30 May 2007 by P. C. Reynell
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Cinematography
I can't quite figure this film out. Juliette Binoche's character risks her husband's life to save a murderer from the guillotine. I'm not sure if the murderer even says sorry. Read more
Published on 29 Jan 2007 by Oliver
3.0 out of 5 stars Visually beautiful, narratively interesting.
And nicely played. Evokes its world very well and doesn't patronise.
Published on 20 Sep 2004 by Jason Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars A great pairing
Auteil and Binoche are superb. Absorbing gritty realistic drama performed in the classic French cinema genre. Read more
Published on 20 May 2003 by N. K.
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