A Very Long Engagement

From the director of Amelie

A Very Long Engagement
With the captivating A Very Long Engagement, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet performs close to a cinematic miracle. This grandly old-fashioned love story set against the backdrop of World War I marries graphic scenes of trench warfare with the gentle, playful wit of Jeunet’s Amelie. Sounds like a blueprint for disaster, right? Yet this ravishing, archetypal romance has such vitality and incandescent charm that it all comes together beautifully, without ever degenerating into kitsch.

Based on the novel by Sebastien Japrisot, A Very Long Engagement follows a determined young woman’s quest to find her fiance in the aftermath of World War I. In the seaside cottage she shares with her uncle and aunt on France’s Brittany Coast, Mathilde (Tautou) receives word that her beloved Manech (Gaspard Ulliel) perished at the front.

Despite eyewitness accounts of Manech getting strafed by machine gun fire, Mathilde refuses to believe that her childhood sweetheart is dead. She hires private detective Germain Pire (Ticky Holgado) to help her track down the surviving members of Manech’s company. Through their often conflicting accounts of that fateful day Manech supposedly died, Mathilde gradually draws closer to discovering the truth. It’s a journey fraught with potential heartbreak, yet Mathilde refuses to abandon hope that she’ll find Manech alive.

A Very Long Engagement is visually dazzling, with deep, rich colors evocative of the French Impressionists. Somehow, this alternately harrowing and whimsical film never feels disjointed. There’s never a moment in A Very Long Engagement where you get the sense that Jeunet is "winking" at the audience, as if to reassure them that he knows this sentimental story full of colorful characters is ripe for parody. Nor does he go the other direction and milk the pathos for maximum tearjerking effect. Jeunet instead carefully straddles the middle ground between these two extremes to create a film imbued with humanity and insouciant good humor. (T. Knight,

A Very Long Engagement

Thu March 31 & Fri April 1, 2005, 7:00 & 9:45, Muenzinger Auditorium

France, 2004, in French, Color, 134 min, Rated R • official site



10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

Thank you, sponsors!
Boulder International Film Festival
Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $60 at any IFS show. With the punch card you can see ten films (a value of $90).

Cover art for Spring 2 2022
Virtual titles to stream from home

Cox & Kjølseth
: Filmmaker Alex Cox & Pablo Kjølseth discuss film topics from their own unique perspectives.

: Pablo and Ana share Zoom-based briefs on what's currently playing at IFS

Sprocket Damage
: Sprocket Damage digs deep(ish) into current and classic films and film-related subjects to bring to you insightful, humorous, and enlightening perspectives on the industry.

Search IFS schedules

Index of visiting artists

Sun Oct 2, 2022

Fantastic Planet

At Muenzinger Auditorium

Fri Oct 21, 2022

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

At Muenzinger Auditorium

more on 35mm...