Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: La Veuve De Saint-Pierre
France/Canada, 2000. Cinémaginaire Inc., Epithète Films, France 2 Cinéma, France 3 Cinéma. Screenplay by Claude Faraldo, adaptation by Patrice Leconte. Cinematography by Eduardo Serra. Produced by Frederic Brillion, Gilles Legrand. Music by Pascal Esteve. Production Design by Ivan Maussion. Costume Design by Christian Gasc. Film Editing by Joelle Hache.
Strong drama co-produced by Canada and France about a prison warden (Daniel Auteuil) and his compassionate wife (Juliette Binoche), living on the French protectorate of St-Pierre off the coast of Newfoundland. They befriend their latest convict (Emir Kusturica), who is on death row for an inexplicably ridiculous murder. Binoche is excellent as a woman who, upon getting to know Kusturica, finds a good-natured man who is valuable to her society after being befriended by her and all those living near her. The French government wishes to get the accused’s execution on with, but as there is no guillotine anywhere on the island they must all wait until one can be sent over from France and an executioner can be found. Excellent period details and a very fine cast. In French the word veuve can mean both ‘widow’ and ‘guillotine’, giving the original French title an added meaning that the English translation doesn’t have.
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film
Toronto International Film Festival: 2000