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This dark drama explores a true tale set in 1850 on the isolated French-Canadian island of St. Pierre. Yugoslav director Emir Kustirica makes a fabulous acting debut as Neele August, an illiterate fisherman who brutally murders his ex-fishing captain in a night of drunken revelry. Sentenced to death, August cannot be killed until the remote island governor imports a used guillotine from the French government. While awaiting the arrival of the "widow," August is placed under the care of the reticent, iconoclastic Captain Jean (Daniel Auteuil) and his freethinking wife, Pauline (Juliette Binoche). Under Pauline's direction, August becomes a devoted social servant whose heroic deeds place the island's female population solidly against his death sentence. The film's costuming and art direction are accomplished, setting the stage for Eduardo Serra's gorgeous landscape cinematography, at its best amongst the dreary seasonal changes of the remote island. Low angles, hand-held camerawork, and consistently foggy skies create a seasick feeling as director Patrice Leconte's pained attention to Jean's horse and the society surrounding the main characters elevates the film from a tidy chamber drama into a visually engaging philosophical discourse.
Leading Role 1
Leading Role 2
Leading Role 3
Additional Roles by
Emir Kusturica, Marc Beland, Philippe Du Janerand, Christian Charmetant, Philippe Magnan