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.