Thursday, June 03, 2010

"Girl on the Bridge" (Language - French) (1999) - Movie Review

Patrice Leconte’s “Girl on the Bridge” is not plot work. It is a story of two people meant to be together for their fortunes to turn good for once in their life. They are an unusual pair but it is no choice for them other than to be together. The faith over fate and luck is the driving force behind this film. It drives its audience to hope for the faith to come true in the end which it eventually does much to no one’s surprise. But it is the journey not the destination that gives a cinematic experience of Leconte’s presentation.

Adele (Vanessa Paradis) sadly tells her story to a group of people we are not shown. Not sure where and to whom she is confiding but her life story is the naivety and stupidity in full throttle. She left home for the first boy she could lay her eyes on and from there it has been jumping stones over the stream. What she has not realized is the chilly touch of the beautiful stream is the pleasure she is missing out. She says she has not lost anything as she has not had anything or anyone. To end this frustration which is neither extreme sadness nor a decisive depression, she stands on the ledge on a bridge busy enough to get a man (Daniel Auteuil) to converse. She survives and he recruits her. What is the job? We do not get to know for a while or we do not take the man seriously when he requests Adele to join him for his knife throwing business.

He is man who knows more than Adele knows herself. He can sense her in his sleep and far away. This is done with the literal instances of telepathy between him and her but it is more about the nature and law of attraction that exist. He knows it but treats it clinically while she does not understand it well enough. He saves her from further obvious tragedy of falling for men with warm smiles and cold hands. She cannot resists as it has become her addiction to follow the tragedy. Adele represents Leconte’s perspective towards the nature of women and many men will stand by him for that.

This is a movie about the wittiness of the script and the charm of the knife thrower Gabor and the infectious cuteness of Adele. Adele when we are introduced and before meeting Gabor has short hair with boredom in her eyes. Gabor takes her under his wings and begins to do a makeover. At the end of it, she blossoms of infinite aura tracking her wherever she goes and Vanessa Paradis is such a beauty that her character glows like sun in the twilight. Gabor is done with the maturity and command of Daniel Auteuil. He plays him with a man without expectation. He has given up on it and knowing Adele as he does with an impulse, she can walk out anytime and anywhere as many men did in her life.

The movie is completely shot in Black and White with immaculate cinematography by Jean-Marie Dreujou. It is an essay with flagrant description of its stage players and the props they use. Leconte did “Man on the Train” after this, one of my beloved films. I saw “Intimate Strangers” following that, another unpredictable work from the director. All these films have characters knowing their counterpart more than one would assume. As they go on, the bond only becomes stronger and trustful. Sometimes they would like to swap their life and sometimes they would like to simply listen and other times, they want to gaze the stars and rant about their lives. They can mesmerize you with it. All these films carry a poetry in pristine form of presentation and yet it appears to resemble an old nostalgic dusty photograph we all forgot long time ago.

Leconte makes a sexy film with throwing knives at the cutest girl. Gabor gets his skill to high perfection with challenges expanding with one performance after another. His newfound girl draws the same kind of unexplainable joy and terror as he does throwing knives at her. Both begin to suck that juice and go on from one country to another while testing their fortune at Casinos. They become the success they gave up hope upon. Still they are not completely happy with themselves. When they lose each other, even in their sorrow, they are charmingly sympathetic.

“Girl on the Bridge” will be those films drawing the most cheesiest form of romantic comedy, the great presence of chance, coincidence, luck and yet uses it with an apt sense of aestheticism. With its two magnetic lead actors, they provide a love story with comedy, magic and elegance. By the end of the film, despite your belief on fate and luck, you cannot resist the restlessness of these two people being apart.

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