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La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (2000 film)

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Title: La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (2000 film)  
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Subject: Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Juliette Binoche
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La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (2000 film)

The Widow of Saint-Pierre
Theatrical poster
Directed by Patrice Leconte
Produced by Frédéric Brillion
Gilles Legrand
Daniel Louis,
Denise Robert
Written by Claude FarraldoPatrice Leconte
Starring Juliette Binoche
Daniel Auteuil
Emir Kusturica
Music by Pascal Esteve
Cinematography Eduardo Serra
Editing by Joëlle Hache
Distributed by Pathé (France)
Film Four (UK)
Lionsgate (US)
Release date(s)
Running time 120 minutes
Country Canada
Language French
Budget $13 million[1]
Box office $7,074,234[2]

The Widow of Saint-Pierre (French: La veuve de Saint-Pierre) is a 2000 film by Patrice Leconte with Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil and Emir Kusturica. The film made its North American debut at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival where it won the Audience Award. It was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 2001 for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was also nominated in 2001 for two César Awards.


In 1850, on the isolated French island of Saint-Pierre, a murder shocks the natives. Two fishermen are arrested. One of them, Louis Ollivier, dies in custody. The other, Neel Auguste (Emir Kusturica), is sentenced to death by the guillotine. However the island is so small that it has neither a guillotine nor an executioner. While one is sent for, Auguste is placed under the supervision of army Captain (Daniel Auteuil).

While Auguste is under the captain's care, the wife of the captain, Madame La, (played by Juliette Binoche) takes an interest in the convict and begins to try to redeem him. Under her auspices, Auguste works hard and carries out a number of good deeds for the good of the community. The locals begin to see that he has changed, and Madame La begins a campaign to stop him from being executed. After a year of awaiting execution, Auguste has become a changed man.

When the guillotine finally arrives on the island, none of the islanders wants to be the one to trip the lever on the guillotine, thereby executing Auguste. However, Auguste remains a condemned man and someone must be found to pull the lever on the guillotine. A newcomer arrives on the island who desperately needs money for his family. He agrees to become the executioner for money and housing, but also takes on the social stigma of being the community's executioner. The guillotine arrives and the townspeople are reluctant to help get it to shore, but once they see Neel helping to provide money for his family the others take shifts, too. The Captain refuses to take Neel to his execution and because of this is deemed treasonous and sentenced to death by firing squad. Both of the executions take place and Madame La is shown alone and in mourning.


Awards and nominations

  • Golden Globe Awards 2001
    • Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film
  • 22nd Moscow International Film Festival
    • Winner Russian Film Critics Award - Best Film
    • Nominated for Golden Saint George Award[3]
  • Jutra Awards 2001
    • Nominated for Best Art direction
  • Toronto Film Festival 2000
    • Audience Award for Best Film

Production notes

Though set in the French colony of St Pierre and Miquelon, the movie was filmed on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.[4] The French title La Veuve de Saint-Pierre contains wordplay. "Veuve" translates to "Widow". In the 1800s the word was also slang for a guillotine.[5]


External links

  • Official website
  • Internet Movie Database
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