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Girl on the Bridge
Reviews by Sam North and Carine Thomas

Directed by Patrice Leconte Starring Vanessa Paradis, Daniel Auteuil
B&W 92 mins


Carine Says:
It’s curious how one instinctively knows that you are going to see a good film, one that will inspire and move you. Even one about suicide. Shot in monochrome, ‘Girl on a Bridge,’ is about a young girl (Paradis) who has decided to commit suicide until she is halted in her attempt at throwing herself off the Bridge into the Seine.

“Who are you out to impress?”
“No one, I never impressed anyone. I’m not starting now.”
“You’re too young to be so sad.”
“I’m scared, It’s cold”
Gabor laughs.
“It’s cold? Do you think they heat it?”


It’s probably Adele’s bad luck to be rescued by the one man who could so easily kill her. Gabor is a knife thrower and he lacks someone to throw knives at. Where else would he recruit his victims, but at the precipice of a bridge?

The film is humorous and emotionally uplifting, curiously akin to the ‘Nouvelle Vague’ cinema of the sixties, and there is possibly no accident that Herve Truffaut is the producer.

This is a sweet, telling romance of two people who cannot possibly be together and yet are drawn by fate to each other. Adele drifts from man to man, she is living from day to day, little realising that in meeting Gabor the knife thrower that she has been thrown an anchor. She is hopeless lost, uncontrollably seeking for Mr Right, or the next step up. As they drift together, they become something else and Adele is perhaps too stupid or blind, until far too late realises that she has let the ‘moment’ pass her by.

‘Girl on the Bridge’ is wonderful, life affirming cinema and yet light, inconsequential, to be savoured for a moment, just like all those Truffaut films of long ago.
© Carine Thomas.

Daniel Autiel and Vannessa Paradise

Sam Says:
‘Girl on the Bridge’ is a very special film. The much weathered actor Daniel Auteuil playing Gabor ,a down on his luck knife thrower who meets a gamine, ingenue in the guise of Adele, (Paradis). He saves her, she saves him, he gives her a reason to live, if only for another day. This is much more than a Beauty and the Beast story.

Paradis gives a surprisingly wonderful performance, her best since Elisa. She plays a foolish, promiscuous girl, yet one who remains innocent , instinctively wanting to trust people, believe them when they say ‘I love you’. She is totally aware of her inadequacies, and her inability to find the right man. She knows all her faults, but just can’t help herself.

Auteuil as Gabor is someone who never quite had the break he deserved, yet has the talent, the belief in himself, given the right opportunity. One look at Adele on the Bridge before she plunges, he knows he has found someone who could inspire him. He has to save her, to save himself.
Gabor spends his last cent getting Adele to Monte Carlo, buys her clothes, gets her to look like a success (Not unlike Pretty Woman but at least he goes with her).

He has to bluff his way into their first gig and promise to do the show ‘blind’. He doesn’t tell Adele he has never done this before. She isn’t sure, but then again, she has this need to trust and if ever there was a need to trust, this was the time.

The act is a great success and they gamble the winnings, winning a fortune. Can this luck last? Is this a movie? Of course they’ll lose everything. Luck is something you have to piss away, misfortune is something you can keep forever.

As they do their act on a Carnival Cruise ship, Adele glances at a man, a newly wed on their honeymoon and she is lost. They get off, using the lifeboat and at once all the luck deserts her. Gabor is is left with the unfortunate bride to throw knives at , but his heart isn’t in it and one slip leaves him broke once again, the woman injured. Gabor is dumped in Turkey where he goes into a slump. Adele is dumped by the new man, just as they get to shore. Her luck has gone, she should have jumped off the bridge. His luck has gone. They are nothing without each other, but both are lost.

This could be just a reprise of an old whimsical Truffaut movie, but something special is happening. (Some of the sound track is curiously lifted from City of Lost Children, as indeed are some of the cast, but it doesn’t seem to matter, Peggy Lee is there too with ‘Sorry’, an appropriate tune). Whenever Auteuil and Paradis are on screen, we sense there is something more, that there is a passion and longing there, unexpressed, when they are apart, they still talk to each other and magically, both reply to each others questions, transcending time and space, as only movies can. It is especially beleiveable and wholly part of this film’s charm.

This is a very special film that so damn life reaffirming, it hurts. Both actors give the performances of their lives and the tension is real, the knives are sharp and this is why I go to the movies, to escape, to believe, to thrill.

© Sam North

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