Girl on the Bridge, The

Director: Patrice Leconte

One of France’s most prolific and inventive directors, Patrice Leconte was the subject of an IFC retrospective in 2000, which coincided with the release of the marvellous Girl on the Bridge. Leconte’s characters tend to be unstable creatures who go to extremes in their pursuit of a romantic ideal, and the couple at the centre of this darkly comic romance conform to type. Adele (a radiant Vanessa Paradis) is a wayward young woman who bemoans her 21 years of bad luck and failed romantic encounters to an unseen interviewer as the film opens. We next see her hovering on a Paris bridge, contemplating a suicidal leap into the Seine. She’s rescued by Gabor (Daniel Auteuil), a middle-aged professional knife-thrower who says he is looking for a new assistant to play the target in his act. This unlikely pair hit the road as a double act, and their wild, unpredictable adventures are filmed by Leconte as part fairytale romance and part road-movie thriller. Leconte is one of contemporary cinema’s great stylists, as demonstrated here by stunning wide-screen cinematography, dynamic editing and characteristically brilliant use of music.
France, 1999. English subtitles. Black and white. Panavision anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 90 mins.

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