A teacher and a gangster meet by chance in a small town pharmacy. As a friendship of sorts develops between these opposite personalities, each starts to envy the other and by the week's end... See full summary »
It's night on a Paris bridge. A girl leans over Seine River with tears in her eyes and a violent yearning to drown her sorrows. Out of nowhere someone takes an interest in her. He is Gabor,... See full summary »
Dr. Henry Harriston is a successful psychoanalyst in New York City. When he is near a nervous breakdown, he arranges to change his flat with Beatrice Saulnier from France for a while. Both ... See full summary »
This parody of the detective-story genre merrily detours into spoofing French foibles as well, making it more of an exercise in verbal gymnastics than a narrative with a mission. Esther is ... See full summary »
Al and Elsa have been a couple for some time, but the chances that their relationship will be long-lived are few. For one thing, Al is appallingly dependent on Elsa for his every emotional ... See full summary »
Two quarreling lovers from opposite sides of the economic scale take central stage in this drama about Veronique and Adrien. Veronique is wealthy and from the provinces, Adrien is ... See full summary »
This is an affecting story about a father's attempts to mend the breaches in the relationship between himself and his 10-year-old daughter. Emmanuel (Sami Frey) is the father of Elise (Mara... See full summary »
Focuses primarily on three women and the (unseen) man who goes in and out of their lives. One member of this trio is a saleswoman with an open relationship that suddenly closes when she ... See full summary »
In 1849, in the Archipelago of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, the drunken Ariel Neel Auguste and his partner Louis Ollivier kill for a futile motive (to see if he is fat or just big) the fishing boat captain Coupard. Nell, who stabbed the victim, is sentenced to die with his head severed in the guillotine while Louis is sentenced to hard labor. During the transportation to the prison under the custody of Captain Jean, there is an accident and Louis dies. While spending his days in the cell waiting for the guillotine and the executioner, Neel is invited by the captain's wife Mrs. Pauline to help her in her garden and becomes her protégé. Later he has a process of rehabilitation helping the locals in minor works and becomes very popular in the island. When he saves the building Café du Nord and her owner from sinking in the sea, his popularity increases and nobody but the governor and politicians of the council wants his death. Neel marries Eleontine Jeanne-Marie, but sooner he is informed ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The title refers in part to the French nickname "veuve" (widow) of the guillotine. Although the French dialogue often uses this word for the device, it is never translated as "widow" in the English subtitles. See more »
When Neel is told he's strong enough to "ramer jusqu'au chez les Anglais", the English subtitles say "row over to Canada" rather than "row over to the English". This introduces an error: both the geography and the dialogue in other scenes make it clear that Newfoundland is meant, but Newfoundland wasn't part of Canada until 1949. See more »
Juliette Binoche plays the wife of a military officer in a remote island town in 1849 Newfoundland who becomes devoted to the cause of saving the life of a condemned murderer. I was torn between admiring `The Widow of Saint-Pierre' for not taking the obvious route of having the captain's wife fall in love with her protege and run off with him (e.g., `Mrs. Soffel"), and a feeling of letdown that it was avoiding opportunities for more vivid and realistic drama. That there is an attraction between the two is made clear, especially in the highly charged, yet muted eroticism of the reading lesson scene. This film was based on a true story, but I couldn't help wondering if the actual killer was as saintly and devoid of guile as he seems in this movie. Among other things, he resists his attraction to his benefactress, although she would probably be more than willing to sleep with him, saves the life of a village woman whose house has slipped its moorings, and passes up an excellent chance to escape because he doesn't want to get anybody in trouble. He impregnates another woman, although it appears to be true love, and he then does the decent thing and marries her. One could accept that a criminal could be redeemed, but here he's a little too good to be true, reinforcing my suspicion that the characterization was meant more to reinforce the filmakers' anti-capital punishment stance than as a reflection of his actual personality. Daniel Auteil as her husband is stuck playing a character whose emotions remain largely inscrutable. The film would have us believe that there is no jealousy or resentment in the husband as his wife dedicates her life to rehabilitating and saving the condemned man under his charge. Ultimately, the captain gives up his own life for both of them, but I kept waiting for a significant sign that he had some inner conflict about doing so. After all, he is a career military officer sworn to uphold the law as it is. Who knew that underneath he was a bleeding heart liberal! This film is interesting and absorbing up to a point, but ultimately, it's also bland and overly complacent dramatically.
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