La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (The Widow of Saint-Pierre)

Directed by Patrice Leconte
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil, Emir Kusturica, Michel Duchaussoy.
MPAA Rating: R for a scene of sexuality and brief violence.

Review by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>
May 21, 2001

The Widow of Saint-Pierre is such a good film that I did not want to write a brief review, regardless of my currently packed schedule. Well, one week later and the review is still not finished yet. I have to move on, so here we go with another mini-review.

Daniel Auteuil plays the captain of the gendarme on Saint-Pierre -- the French-owned island off the coast of Newfoundland. He lives in a house with his wife Pauline (Juliette Binoche) that shares a courtyard with the local jail. A fisherman (Emir Kusturica) is convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but Saint-Pierre has neither a guillotine (the official mode of capital punishment at the time) nor an executioner. While waiting for the latest French government (specifically, the Second Republic) to pull through, Pauline hires the convict to help her build a greenhouse in the courtyard. Eventually, he helps others, saves a runaway café on wheels, and becomes a local folk hero. When the time comes for his execution, the Captain, his wife, and the rest of the island's population do everything they can to resist.

This film is another beautiful gem from Patrice Leconte, who made 1999's The Girl on the Bridge, which also starred Auteuil. Don't worry, he doesn't die early in the film, making Binoche the title character -- that refers to the woman who marries the convict. Fans of Kusturica's directorial work (Black Cat, White Cat) should be delighted to see the Yugoslavian act quite well while speaking French.

There are so many other wonderful things to say about this film, but I don't have the time to mention them. Just see the film for yourself and enjoy.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (2000)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
The Widow of Saint-Pierre (2000) - subtitled in English -- VHS
The Widow of Saint-Pierre (2000) - dubbed in English -- VHS
The Widow of Saint-Pierre (2000) -- DVD


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Review © 2001 Matt Heffernan