In “A Long Engagement Sunday” by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Audrey Tautou and Gaspard Ulliel respond to the backdrop of the First World War. The film, rewarded with five César, has however been controversial in Corsica. We explain why.
A long engagement Sunday: Mathilde loves Manech
Released in theaters in October 2004, A long engagement Sunday signs the reunion between Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Audrey Tautou, three years after the success ofAmelie Poulain. This time, the latter embodies Mathilde, a young woman convinced that her fiancé, Manech (Gaspard Ulliel) has gone to the front two years before and announced dead, is still alive. Alone against all, she will conduct her own investigation and follow her intuition to find him.
The film won five César in 2005. Best costumes, best photography, best sets, and above all best actress in a supporting role for Marion Cotillard, and best male hope for Gaspard Ulliel. The late actor who left us tragically on January 19, 2022, burst onto the screen in the role of the overwhelming Manech.
A scene caused controversy at the time of the release
But the film was not to everyone’s taste. Indeed, in the sequence of no man’s land, one of the soldiers sentenced to death, Angel Bassignano, decides to surrender to the Germans and shouts “Pity, I’m not French, I’m Corsican, I have nothing against the Germans!”.
A replica that created a real controversy on the island of beauty. Thereby, several Corsican associations protested against this character portrayed as a coward. They reminded us that in the novel from which the film is adapted, the latter is not from Corsica but from Marseilles and that his presence amounted to “spitting on the Corsican people”. Following this controversy, A long engagement Sunday has even been removed from theaters on the island.
For his part, Jean-Pierre Jeunet had declared that he did not want to hurt anyone, and that it was only humor, although a bit cliché.
The scene in question can be (re)discovered below: