8 September 2009 | claudio_carvalho
Beautiful Story of Rehabilitation and Intolerance
In 1849, in the Archipelago of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, the drunken Ariel Neel Auguste (Emir Kusturica) and his partner Louis Ollivier (Reynald Bouchard) kill for a futile motive (to see if he is fat or just big) the fishing boat captain Coupard (Michel Daigle). 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 (Daniel Auteuil), 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 (Juliette Binoche) 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 that the ship Marie Galante has just left Martinique bringing a guillotine. Now the Governor and politicians need to find an executioner in the population to execute the sentence.
"La Veuve de Saint-Pierre" is a beautiful dramatization of a story of rehabilitation and intolerance. I do not know whether this event is partially true or not – there are references in Internet to this story but in sites that I can not trust – but this movie is wonderful. The story and screenplay are engaging and very well written with powerful lines; the direction of Patrice Leconte and the performances are top- notch, with Juliette Binoche extremely beautiful and elegant as usual and showing a magnificent chemistry with Daniel Auteuil; the cinematography and costumes are wonderful. Based on my adjectives, it is unnecessary to say that I loved this movie. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "A Viúva de Saint-Pierre" ("The Widow of Saint-Pierre")