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I had to preview this 2007 French drama from a low-quality, second-generation video copy that reduced its preponderant night scenes to inky blackness, so I'm not sure I can properly claim to have seen it at all. What I was able to make out was an offbeat tale of World War I, similar in premise to Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement (2004) but more somber in tone. Sylvie Testud stars as a slight young woman, longing for word of her husband at the front, who receives a Dear John letter from him and, disguised as a boy, sets off to find him. She soon falls in with a little band of deserters whose most salient characteristic is their habit of breaking out ramshackle musical instruments for elaborate performances of anachronistic folk-rock tunes. The movie ranked number five in Cahier du Cinema's year-end poll, whose voters presumably had the luxury of an actual print. Serge Bozon directed. 102 min.

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