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Fille sur le pont, La

Bryan Adams' observation that love "cuts like a knife" takes on a whole new meaning in this offbeat French fable about a troubled blade thrower and his comely assistant.


Depressed over her rotten luck with men, Adele (Vanessa Paradis) is about to chuck it all in a dive off a Paris bridge when the mysterious Gabor (Daniel Auteuil) arrives to talk her out of it. It seems that the danger-addicted stranger is in the habit of recruiting suicidal young women to serve as targets in his knife-throwing stage show. Fortune smiles on the new partners, and they're soon living it up on the European gambling resort circuit. Careful, though -- all it takes is a single slip to turn their thrilling act into tragedy.


French star Auteuil ("Jean de Florette") gives another in a long string of mesmerizing lead performances -- is there a more sympathetic actor working today? The way he gets away with underplaying scene after scene, letting his flashing dark eyes hint at the emotions churning behind his impassive hangdog face, is the very definition of a great screen performance. Intoxicatingly beautiful pop singer-turned-actress Paradis holds her own as well, especially during the long confessional scene that opens the film.


Patrice Leconte ("Ridicule") sets up a wonderfully unpredictable romance fueled by energetic camerawork and the inherent suspense of having one protagonist throwing sharp objects at the other on a regular basis. The film's luscious black-and-white visuals capture the excitement of the characters' high-rolling run through the casinos of France and Monaco. Unfortunately the director and screenwriter Serge Frydman have no idea where to take the story once they have all the elements up and running, and the last third of the picture is disappointing anticlimax.

Bottom Line

As knife-throwing movies go, "Girl on the Bridge" narrowly misses the target. But you have to admire the filmmakers' daring in giving it a shot.


Starring Daniel Auteuil, Vanessa Paradis, Demetre Georgalas, Isabelle Petit-Jacques and Frederic Pfluger.

Directed by Patrice Leconte. Produced by Christian Fechner. Screenplay by Serge Frydman. Released by Paramount Classics.