For French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet to come to New York City to introduce his World War I drama, A Very Long Engagement, at the American Museum of the Moving Image is something of a personal, creative homecoming.
Jeunet is crystal clear about his anti-war beliefs, as well as the anti-Iraqi War references in his latest film. Ground Zero — the site of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers and the launching point for the current Iraq War — is just a bridge and tunnel away from the Queens-based movie museum hosting his screening. If you're going to shout out against the Iraq War, well, New York City is the place to do it.
Speaking the following morning, Jeunet admits that it has become cliché for a moviemaker to protest against the Iraq War, although he's committed to say what's on his mind.
"I don't want to speak out against the war because everyone knows war is stupid and silly. Every time you have a war everyone in the world suffers."
Based on Sebastien Japrisot's best selling novel, A Very Long Engagement is the story of a young woman (Amélie star Audrey Tautou) who goes in search of her presumed dead fiancé after World War I.
Jeunet has been fascinated with World War I since he was a young boy living in Eastern France near the location of the no man's land trenches. Despite his World War I obsession, Jeunet remains committed to his core message: "World War I was a war for weapons dealers. The arrogance of the French generals was extreme. So many people died for nothing." — Steve Ramos