Violette is old enough to get married when her village in the Lower Alps is cruelly deprived of all its men by the repression that followed the republican uprising of December 1851. For the...
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Violette is old enough to get married when her village in the Lower Alps is cruelly deprived of all its men by the repression that followed the republican uprising of December 1851. For the next two years, the village is completely cut off. The women swear an oath that if a man should come, he will become their shared husband, so that life may continue to flourish in each of their wombs.Written by
Based on a short story by then 84 year old Violette Ailhaud, written in 1919, and supposedly based on an incident from her own life. At her instruction it was not made public until 1952, one hundred years after the events related in the story. See more »
Subtle Drama With Fine Understated Performances
Set in the mid-19th century in a remote French farming village, the men of the small community are swept up and arrested by the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte. He has pulled off a coup in the nation and dissolved their Second Republic, only to soon declare himself Emperor.
Thus the women of the village are left to fend for themselves not knowing the fate of their loved ones. They'll undergo a collaborative effort to harvest the fields, care for the animals, and make necessary repairs when needed.
They'll also decide that if a man does wander through their community they will share him equally including the bedroom. But when a handsome and mysterious man named Jean (Alban Lenoir), claiming to be a traveling blacksmith, does pass through, the women will do their best to have him stay.
The young Violette (Pauline Burlet) will be tasked to look after Jean. She's the only person left in the town who can read and since Jean can also read it will help form a bond between them. Also, they'll be physical attraction as well all leading to a relationship.
However, Violette will soon feel the pressure of the other women wanting to participate in their pact of sharing Jean. I won't write spoilers as to what happens thereafter or if some or all of the village's men eventually return.
Overall, this is a deliberately paced movie with subtle, not "knock you off your seat", drama. The fine performances of the leads Burlet and Lenoir are understated and effective. Part of the power of the film is how the women must cooperate and collaborate to survive. But this is the type of slow paced and subtle movie that will not appeal to everyone, especially those seeking an action flick.
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