The widow of Saint-Pierre


Director Patrice Leconte
Release 2000 (France)
Original language French
Length 1h52
Music Pascal Estève
Script Claude Faraldo & Patrice Leconte
Photography Eduardo Serra


  • Russian Film Critics Award at the Moscou Film Festival in 2001


Saint-Pierre 1850, a small French island lost close to Canada. One night, a man is wildly assassinated. The culprit, Neel Auguste is condemned to death. But in Saint-Pierre, there is neither guillotine nor guillotine keeper to carry out the sorrow. The French government promises to solve this problem but waiting is likely to be long. A guillotine has to be sent from France, the motherland that is so far. While waiting, Neel is placed under the monitoring of the Captain and awaits his execution with humility. The wife of the Captain, Madame La, is interested particularly in the fate of Neel, in whom she sees kindness and simplicity. She cannot accept that a man is definitively malicious, and wishes his rehabilitation at any costs. Little by little, with the assistance of his bienfaitrice and against the opinion of notable of the city, the condemned make himself essential and becomes the most popular man of the island. But when the guillotine arrives by the seas, justice must be made. Madame La will try to make the impossible to prevent Neel from being carried out. And it is by love for his wife that the Captain will oppose the established order, it is for this love that he will go until the end of his destiny…



  • Juliette Binoche …. Madame La
  • Daniel Auteuil …. The Captain
  • Emir Kusturica …. Neel Auguste
  • Michel Duchaussoy …. The Governer
  • Philippe Magnan …. President Venot
  • Christian Charmetant …. Marine officer
  • Philippe Du Janerand …. Custom officer


Soundtrack The widow of Saint-Pierre

The soundtrack is composed by Pascal Estève.

Details & titles of the soundtrack.

Buy online :


CountryFormataudio languagessubtitles languages buy online Description
Germany DVD Z2 PAL German,
France DVD Z2 PAL French making-of, comments by Patrice Leconte
USA DVD Z1 NTSC English,


The title of the film is a pun in French : “widow” (veuve) is the name used for the guillotine.

Emir Kusturica about the film : I've always been obsessed by this topic : the man condemned to death is not the same one as who is going to be killed. I would have liked to treat it in one of my films, I will undoubtedly try one day. I've been strongly impressed by the scenario of the Widow of Saint-Pierre, by the force and the diversity of the conflicts which underlie. My character, perhaps a little naive, is very natural, spontaneous, sincere. It is undoubtedly because of these features of character that he's found in a situation where it kills a man. Its act opens a reflexion on the crime and the punishment. I've also accepted this role as I was very curious to know, apart from any consideration about the talent of a director, which traces a nonprofessional actor charged with all this matter can leave on a film. Which taste, which emotions, it manages to make through the screen.

On the contrary to me, Patrice is a director who has no doubt. He has a script, ideas, and he hangs on them carefully. When I make films, I'm never sure of anything, and I feed myself from this unsafety. So, being an actor, you guess ! I never stopped asking questions. Also on the mise en scène. If I had directed it myself, it would have been much less clean, and twice longer !

Interview with Patrice Leconte about Emir Kusturica : [Choosing Emir Kusturica,] cannot be a [marketting] trick,because if that is, it is not really “grand public” ! Nobody knows who is Emir Kusturica. One knows UNDERGROUND, one knows that it is a director but that is only among film enthusiasts, it is not as if I had taken Bernard Tapie, if you see what I want to say… Emir, it is a “coup de coeur”, completely sincere and authenticate, insofar as I did not know him in the life. I saw actors, non-actors, one searched for me abroad and then one day, I saw a photograph of Emir on the shooting of UNDERGROUND and I said to myself that it was him. I was sure of my opinion. After, we wonder whether he will accept. We translated the scenario in English, he read it, he liked it and he asked to meet me. He said “It is completely foolish what you propose to me, it is an experiment, like I've never been proposed. I like the experiments, I agree”. We carried out tests with him and Juliette to reassure him but I was sure of it, he was an obviousness. He acted in French with a strong accent but that gives him charm, I believe. While shooting, lots of people said to me that I was insane to take Emir because he was going to interfer with directing. But I was very quiet. I never had problems on this subject and I was right, he was an actor all the time, an actor very available because he knows what worries a director, weather whims. He knows that by heart.



en/the_widow_of_saint-pierre.txt · Last modified: 2007/03/11 22:26 by matthieu1