youíre like me, then you just donít go
out of your way to see French films. I
knew the French probably made perfectly
fine movies, but it seemed like I was
never in the mood to actually see one.
GIRL ON THE BRIDGE has turned me around.
Do the French always make such delightful
movies populated with unique characters
doing interesting things? I hope not,
or Iíll need to order "Berlitz French
For Beginners," stop brushing my
teeth, and start brushing up on my Jean-Paul
Sartres, because Iíll be moving to gay
(Paradis) is an unhappy young girl whose
sexual appetite and ill-chosen romances
have led to a miserable relationship with
every man sheís ever been with. Convinced
that her luck is always bad and that nothing
will improve, she steps out onto a bridge
one night in Paris and prepares to jump.
Out of the shadows steps Gabor (Auteuil),
a rumpled, middle-aged knife thrower who
recruits girls with suicidal tendencies
to be the human targets in his act. He
sees something special in Adele, an incredible
luck that just hasnít risen to the surface.
He asks her to be his lovely assistant.
She jumps anyway.
unexpected beginning sets in motion an
unpredictable story that explores the
relationship between these two. It is
a romantic comedy, but unlike American
romantic comedies, its leads are neither
stereotypical nor archetypal; they are
interesting. It is also a road-trip movie,
but unlike the typical American picaresque,
all events that occur are directly linked
to the filmís themes of luck, desire and
love. The movie is very tight. It seems
deceptively simple, but at no point did
I feel like I knew how things were going
to play out.
and Auteuil glow in their roles, and their
chemistry is completely convincing. The
inherent creepiness of a relationship
between a young woman and a man at least
20 years her senior has been the bane
of several films. (That AUTUMN IN NEW
YORK movie with Richard Gere and Winona
Ryder gives me the willies.) But writer
Frydman and director Leconte have come
up with an ingenious way to make Gabor
and Adeleís relationship extremely erotic
without making the audience feel dirty.
I wonít ruin how; youíll just have to
go see it.
May-December romance, existential fantasy
comedy circus-performer road-trip movies
donít just come along every day, and I
will go out on a limb and say GIRL ON
THE BRIDGE is the definitive one. The
writing is sharp, the performances are
compelling, and the black-and-white cinematography
is simply beautiful. The final shot will
stay with you long afterward.
most of you are like me, you stay away
from French films. But if you are like
me, then I can safely say that you will
really enjoy this film. If this is representative
of French cinema, then I say I was an
ignorant American pig and "Vive le
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