Several weeks ago, after seeing The Secret In Their Eyes for a second time, I exchanged a series of messages with someone about other movies that have a similar level of intensity and passion. I wish I had archived those messages…they were lost (I think) in a recent server/email transition. Oh, well.
One thing I did note at the time and decided to watch ASAP was a movie he mentioned that I have heard about for years but not seen before: the French film Girl On The Bridge (2000).
I was a little slow to warm up to the characters (Man On The Train, which I liked, is the only other Patrice Leconte film I’ve seen), but from the very beginning, I was mesmerized by the look of the film. The lighting and black and white images are indelible. The word “lush” usually connotes color, but these carefully composed images are both lush and crisp. Watch it, and you’ll see how this is possible.
I looked up cinematographer Jean-Marie Dreujou, but I haven’t seen any of his other films except Man On The Train. Surely this is my loss.
After awhile, though, I stopped obsessing about the image and began to come closer to a connection with the two main characters, Adele (Vanessa Paradis) and Gabor (Daniel Auteuil) – she, a young woman on a bridge about to commit suicide, and he, a knife-thrower who seems to specialize in saving women about to make a big mistake only to put them in his dangerous act.
A solid connection with these characters took me some time – after all, they are quirky and elusive – but by the time these two have gone their separate ways on the ground yet maintained an ever-deepening connection in their minds and hearts, I was hooked. Those sequences and the final scene were quite powerful for me.
Sometimes a slow build is a good thing… it makes the denouement all the sweeter. Yes, a fitting addition to the missing list.