A Very Long Engagement (2004)

20100707:
This movie is long and great. The movie does a good job with pacing as far as pacing can get. The movie tells itself like a mystery. The one criticism I have is in the final note of the movie. If the movie was a musical piece, I felt as if the ending was like a deceptive cadence instead of an authentic cadence. The movie slowly builds up tension, very slowly at first, and then a lot at the end. Then there is a drop, and you expect the final tension to occur. But you are shown something that leaves you to fill in the blanks. Now, I'm not opposed to filling in the blanks of a movie, but there's something that should happen before I fill in the blanks. Some sort of lasting emotion that I should feel. Perhaps, if they ended the movie after the lines spoken at 2:05, the movie would have felt right to me. In any case, excellent film.

I forgot to mention the passion that's in the film was also well done.

The order in which the story is told is also done correctly. It doesn't take long to figure out where in a timeline each scene belongs.

Go watch this movie.

Tear-jerking moments:
?:?? If I get there before the car comes around the bend...
1:53 He spoke of a heart throbbing.
1:59 When she gets a letter
2:02 When her aunt is crying
2:05

[20100707][20191007 Edit]

20191007 Comment:*
In the movie, the protagonist's fiance departs and then she begins making her way through a pasture and superstitiously says to herself "If I reach the bend before the car, Manech will come back alive!" She arrives to the road and looks around. There's not a car in sight. She then hears a car coming and gets excited. Is it her fiance? You'll have to watch the movie and find out. But let's consider the possibilities as well as point out some flaws with the scene.

Case 1. Her fiance comes around the bend and so she would have reached the bend before the car. As such, Manech will come back alive!

Case 2. Her fiance doesn't come around the bend. Oh no! Does this mean Manech will die? Nope! Without going into a lesson about logic or truth tables, consider instead the following story:
A father and son are at the table and the kid won't eat his peas. The father tells the son, "If you don't eat your peas, I won't give you ice cream." Afraid of the consequence for not eating his peas, the kid quickly finishes his peas. After finishing his dinner, the son asks, "Can I please have my ice cream now?" The father replies, "Why? Did I say I would give you ice cream if you eat your peas?"

Remark 1. As it stands, the statement is an optimistic one to make. She would feel much better in case 1 and logically shouldn't be any more worried than she already is in case 2. As an alternative, she could have made a much riskier statement: "Manech will come back alive if and only if I reach the bend before the car!" On that note, the reality is that it's just superstition. Otherwise, one should just make trivial remarks like "If I jump twice right now then Manech will come back alive" - though that would make for a boring scene.

Remark 2. In criticism for the scene, which is written to emotionally excite the viewer (see Remark 1), we should consider that she makes the statement because somewhere in her mind she has judged through experience that it may be possible for her to reach the bend before the car. As such, if she does not reach the bend before the car, it stands to reason that the car should not have left her field of view by the time she arrives. However, when she arrived, there's no car in sight and there's no dust in the air either.

*On 20100707, I made a remark about an if-statement. I have moved the commentary here and added some new material.

Watched 20100707 (Netflix Instant Self) (French audio, English subtitles)
A Very Long Engagement (2004) Jeanne-Pierre Jeunet. 133 min.
also known as Un long dimanche de fian├žailles (France, original title)

Relevant Links:
A Very Long Engagement (IMDb.com)
A Very Long Engagement (RottenTomatoes.com)
A Very Long Engagement (Wikipedia.org)
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