KBT Presents: A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT
I've been a fan of the French director Jean Pierre Jeunet since he made the quirky and fun post-apocalyptic gallery of the grotesque: Delicatessen. In that film, there is a section of pure audio-visual bliss as the residents of a small boarding go about their daily tasks in a perfectly balanced and unified rhythm. He followed up this with the dark and equally quirky children's fairy tale City of Lost Children with an imagination which recalls Terry Gilliam at his best. A stab at Hollywood franchise filmmaking yielded the dreadful Alien: Resurrection (easily the worst of the four films). Still, it brought Jeunet back to his French roots and he turned out the visually stunning (if a bit sugary) ode to the romantic in a stylized Paris, Amelie.
Now, at the top of his game, he has made a fabulous piece of pure entertainment, set in the first World War, featuring his signature visuals, and a leading lady who he made a star with Amelie.
Borrowing a page from Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory, the film starts with desperate men in the trenches looking for a way out. One intentionally gets his finger shot off in the hopes that this will allow him away from hell on earth because of a minor injury. Caught and sentenced, these men are sent out into no-man's land to die for their crime of cowardice.
Meanwhile, the fiance of one of the men is waiting for him back in the French countryside. When he never returns, even several years after the war, she sets off to find him herself. What follows is a journey which is one of the most lavishly produced films in modern European cinema. The movie manages the challenging balancing act of combining Jeunet's whimsical style with the horrors of the first great war, and the romantic masochism of unfulfilled true love.
Come out at 8:00pm for drinks and an 8:30pm showtime.