A work of art
Frank Leonidas | 07/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's very seldom that a film truly deserves a perfect FIVE star rating; well, at least a film from the past ten years or so. You know that old saying: they don't make 'em like they used to anymore? That's true, except for Girl on the Bridge. This film is simply put: wistful. It sparkles with a peculiar romantic intensity and a vividness that is not often found in contemporary films; whatever the language. It's as if Cukor or Hawks or Capra stepped out of the past to guide this little film along. It would take the French to make a movie this glowing with romantic saturation. The director is Patrice Leconte. That name will probably not mean much to most people outside of France or Europe, but in his native country he is as famous and respected a living filmmaker as there ever was. When you look at the body of Leconte's work it may not seem impressive at first. He doesn't have a mile long list of blockbuster hits to his name (like Scorsese or Spielberg) but he makes the most of every single film he creates and when viewed as a whole, his films mostly share a similar thread: two lonely and desperate people trying to make a connection in a cruel world.
In some of Leconte's films the connection is as simple as friendship (The Man on the Train '02, My Best Friend '06) but mostly his films revolve around the eminent concept of love (Girl on the Bridge '99, The Widow of Saint-Pierre '00) and to some degree obsession (Monsieur Hire '89, The Hairdresser's Husband '90, Intimate Strangers '04). But do not mistake me, Girl on the Bridge is not some weepy romantic tear-jerker. On the contrary, it is something of an anomaly. It is about two damaged people who share a bond that neither one can quite understand or ultimately ignore. How you feel about that bond in question is up to you since some may say it's luck, and others might say it's clairvoyance. Yes. There is an air of mysticism to the proceedings in Girl on the Bridge, but believe me, in terms of the story it's what makes the whole thing click. That and the chemistry of the two stars: Daniel Auteuil and Vanessa Paradis (better known as the future Mrs. Johnny Depp).
Auteuil dominates the film with his world-weary eyes and saggy face. There is something brutal about him that lingers caged under a gentle surface; he's like a Gallic Bogart with more spontaneity. In this film he plays a professional knife thrower. When one considers the type of person it must take to have knives thrown at them at high velocity, it's no wonder he finds his would-be assistants on the ledges of Parisian bridges after nightfall. This particular would-be target is played by the delicate, sensual and callow Paradis. Their stormy professional relationship (replete with psychic bond) soon matures into a true friendship and eventual...well, I'll leave the rest up to you to discover. The film is filled with playful yet ravishing cinematography (courtesy of Jean-Marie Dreujou) and a haunting musical score (featuring the unforgettable Marianne Faithfull). It's funny, erotic and above all else a film that fills the senses and leaves you breathless. Legend Films presents Girl on the Bridge in a sparkling anamorphic transfer with pleasing sound. This is the first time the film has been released on DVD in region 1, and believe me, it was long overdue. I showed this film to someone once and all they could say afterward was: "it looked like one of those black and white cologne or diamond commercials on TV." Yeah, I suppose there are some people who could look at Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and sum it up by saying: "it sure went high up." It's so easy for some to miss the point. I think what Leconte is trying to say with most of his films is that love is inherently simple, yet we as human beings complicate the matter every time. Perhaps it's something in our nature. Is it the heart that's responsible? The head? The gut? Maybe it's the whole damn thing..."
Most beautiful film
Z. Liu | Chicago | 02/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After I saw this film, I liked to say that the last film I saw was in French and black and white. This film has all the wonders of both. In our age of vivid color and candid sex, this film is both erotic and subtle. Although throwing knife as phallic symbol does not suggest it, this film is sensual, not sexual. Vanessa Paradis and Daniel Auteil make an amazing pair. Her supermodel good looks and flippant sexuality makes her HOT the perfect foil for his calm, collected COOL as they go on a gallavanting tour of behind the big tent Europe. This is a film for clever sentamentalists and cynics alike. Sure, the film takes an "other half" attitude to love, but it also makes it plainly clear that love is altogether fragile, and cannot hold."
Love on the edge
Joseph Leydon | Texas | 05/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Patrice Leconte's hypnotically erotic fable of passion, caprice and cutlery is a delirious swirl of exuberant romanticism, propelled by the gravely melancholy intensity of Daniel Auteuil and the startlingly incandescent vulnerability of Vanessa Paradis. He's a past-his-prime knife-thrower in search of a new human target and, if he's really lucky, a shot at redemption. She's a despairing young beauty who can give him everything he wants - and, in return, receive everything she needs - if she accepts the psychic ties that bind them. And, of course, if she agrees to dice with death during their every performance, on stage and off. The central metaphor is arresting -- love as a daunting leap of faith and a reckless tempting of fate - and the supple storytelling is intoxicating. Filmed in the shimmering black-and-white of an Old Hollywood romance, "Girl on the Bridge" is ambitious, audacious -- and altogether astonishng."
Exquisite -- and memorable
janet vogelzang | vallejo, CA USA | 05/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just for starters, this wonderful story is a masterpiece of editing, dialog, black-and-white photography, and enchantment. The soundtrack is phenomenal. I have seen "Girl on the Bridge" three times on the big screen and each time got lost in their world; the chemistry between Daniel Auteuil and Vanessa Paradis was sizzling on all levels. This little movie is absolutely absorbing, romantic and memorable. The only slight criticism I have is that sometimes the subtitles were illegible against white backgrounds; however, I was happy it was a French-language movie because it added an extra dimension to the characters..."