La Veuve de Saint-Pierre

"The Widow of Saint-Pierre," based on a true story, circa 1850, is set on a remote French outpost off the coast of Canada. Juliette Binoche, giving a performance of implosive force and feeling that far surpasses her Oscar-nominated work in Chocolat, plays the wife of an officer (the superb Daniel Auteuil) who supports her efforts to help rehabilitate a convicted murderer (Underground director Emir Kusturica, in a subtly powerful acting debut), at least for the months it takes for a guillotine to arrive from Paris. Director Patrice Leconte ("Girl on the Bridge") turns this bizarre romantic triangle into something hypnotic and haunting — that rare period piece that resonates with provocative life.

From The Archives Issue 241: June 16, 1977