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GIRL ON THE BRIDGE

SYNOPSIS:
On a bridge over the Seine in Paris, middle-aged knife thrower Gabor (Daniel Auteuil) encounters 22 year-old Adele (Vanessa Paradis), suicidal after a series of misguided romantic adventures. After saving her from drowning, Gabor convinces Adele to become the human target in his dangerous act. Fabulous success follows as the duo reach Monaco, thrilling audiences as Gabor begins throwing blindfolded. Their good fortune extends to the casino tables where the previously luckless Adele makes a killing. Gabor's rule of never sleeping with his targets is tested as romance blossoms between the two....

Review by Richard Kuipers -
"If any further proof was required to confirm the major status of director Patrice Leconte (The Hairdresser's Husband, Monsieur Hire, Ridicule), Girl On The Bridge is it. Filmed in shimmering widescreen black and white this is a wild French romance to savour. Comparisons with Leos Carax's insane Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (Lovers On The Ninth Brige, 1991) and Jacques Demy's Bay Of Angels (1963) are inevitable but Leconte's ability to mix humour, modern fairy-tale, backstage drama and crazy love story makes this irresistible regardless of any similarities. Even the usually troublesome pairing of a 50-ish man with a woman half his age is overcome because the bonds bringing Gabor and Adele together are initially not romantic and by the time the inevitable happens we have an understanding of what makes both characters tick and why the attraction develops. Auteuil, back on home turf after a disappointing English language debut in The Lost Son, is the personification of rumpled, world weary charm and Paradis' fragile beauty works perfectly playing the woman put into a spin (literally) by the man with the knives. Leconte has fun with the elements; outrageously suggestive sexual metaphors abound while daggers hurtle through space toward their vulnerable female target and the music is a wonderful blend of everything from Benny Goodman to Brenda Lee's I'm Sorry and the Harry Warren/Al Dubin theme music from 42nd Street. With chemistry-plus at work between Auteuil and Paradis and an infectious feel of looking like it's being made up as it goes along, this delightful concoction zings along in great style and is a joy to watch."

Review by Jake Wilson -
"One of the flagship movies for this year’s French Film Festival, this is an entertaining but largely forgettable exercise in stylishness. It’s fluidly made, shot in glossy, high contrast black and white, and the whole damn thing looks like a perfume commercial. The characters don’t have much more depth than that, either. Vanessa Paradis is used as a kind of designer waif, with her big eyes and slightly crooked teeth, and Daniel Auteuil also registers as a brooding iconic presence rather than a human being. Even for an operatic fairy-tale The Girl On The Bridge feels a bit third-hand – though it’s meant to be a romance between two drifting lowlifes, there’s no real sense of urgency or passion. Everything is polished ‘visual magic.’ A seedy variety theatre becomes a gallery of marvels – beautiful women, goggling freaks; a casino is a wonderland of flashing lights and fountains of money. Director Patrice Leconte manages to keep all this spectacle moving quickly past the viewer, and the results are often exciting to watch; the best stunts are the literally breathtaking knife-throwing scenes, with Paradis quivering and gasping as blades whoosh past her skimpy outfit. But this kind of jokey, over-the-top display is really all the film has to offer. Even the surprising, minimal opening sequence – a six-minute prologue that simply shows Adele talking about her life to camera, in response to questions posed by an offscreen interviewer – doesn’t exactly bring things closer to reality: it just seems like an added piece of style, a stunt of another kind."

Review by Lee Gough -
"Patrice Leconte's The Girl on the Bridge is a film with a great many entertaining moments but one which ultimately doesn't take us anywhere. It starts with huge promise. The first 15 minutes is bold cinema in which we watch Adele, played by the highly charismatic Vanessa Paradis, explaining to someone the mess she's gotten herself into. Leconte spends a long time in closeup, never revealing the identity of the interrogator, but gradually pulling back to reveal a panel of some sort watching this revelation. It's riveting stuff, really engaging our interest and drawing us into this character. Perhaps we are overly conditioned by storytelling formula, but there is no reference to this opening for the rest of the film, and this is enormously frustrating. Was the panel a jury, a group of psychiatrists, what? Was it simply an attempt at a different storytelling technique or efficient backstory exposition? Maybe some won't be bothered by it at all, but it did create an unresolved question that imposed itself on the story for the next 75 minutes. Technically, Leconte is also a little wayward. The shiny black and white photography employed is extremely effective while the overuse of the handheld camera is sickening (literally) in the extreme. There is something of a homage to Woody Allen here with both cinematography and choice of music. Serge Frydman's script, however, does not produce the deft touch we would expect from one of Allen's films. The initial idea is an interesting one but Frydman seems to get lost once the girl and the knife thrower get together. Paradis and Auteuil both offer polished performances. The Girl on the Bridge has enough in it to be worth a look - but if you're prone to motion sickness, forget it."

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

GIRL ON THE BRIDGE (M) 15+
(France)

CAST: Daniel Auteuil, Vanessa Paradis, Claude Aufaure, Farouk Bermouga, Bertie Cortez, Nicola Donato, Enzo Etoyko, Giorgos Gatzios, Demetre Georgalas, Catherine Lescault

PRODUCERS: Christian Fechner

DIRECTOR: Ptrice Leconte

SCRIPT: Serge Frydman

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jean-Marie Dreujou, AFC

EDITOR: Joelle Hache

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ivan Maussion

RUNNING TIME: 90min

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: NewVision

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 6, 2000 (Sydney, Melbourne)







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