Girl on the Bridge (1999)

10 08 2008

At its best, a sub-Wong Kar Wai love story with too many stylistic devices to be a fluently great film. The whole lost souls find each other plot line is welcomed as always, but the unique aspects of the film are generally, quite silly. Perhaps that is the point, since the protagonist perform in what is basically a magic show, but even then, a bit more relationship-related events would have helped things out. In addition to the whole magic show thing, Leconte sprinkles plenty of bloated symbolism to make things even more laughable. And yet, the film somehow works as a whole and it is largely due to the wonderful visuals and the captivating beauty of its lead actress, Vanessa Paradis.

A young women, Adéle, has lived a life devoid of any luck and thus, any happiness. She decides to throw herself off a bridge one night, but in the process of doing so, meets Gabor, a knife-thrower. He befriends Adéle and invites her to be his new assistant, which means he plans to throw knives at her. The couple’s luck on the magic show circuit crosses over into the casino, but when the two drift apart, they become as unlucky as they were before their chance meeting.

Most of the thematic material, such as that of “luck” is pretty silly, and at times, woefully metaphorical. Essentially, the film attempts to be built around the concept of the two lovers needing each other …to be lucky, which is a problematic theory in and of itself. What kind of messed up world do these people live in where a life goal is to consistently display signs of luck. This is one of the many things that clouds the principal relationship, and keeps the film from reaching its true potential.

Another cinematic roadblock is the overly-flash aesthetic approach, more akin to Terry Gilliam than Wong Kar-Wai. Considering the achingly romantic tone the film tries to achieve, it would have been preferably to show signs of influence from the latter. It’s funny, considering how the whole “Wong Kar-Wai type romance” has almost become an entirely new genre itself and most of the time, cinephiles will roll their eyes at another attempt at recapturing the spirit of Hong Kong’s most acclaimed auteur. But in a film like this, it becomes so clear just how difficult it is to obtain a similar sensibility. Leconte seems to have all the “right” things present, but he decides to indulge in goofy dutch angles, a surefire way to destroy the power of the otherwise gorgeous black and white visuals. Still, despite it’s many blemishes, I did enjoy this a great deal, but perhaps only for it could have been, rather than what is actually is.



One response

11 08 2008

Nice review.

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