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It's night on a Paris bridge. A girl leans over Seine River with tears in her eyes and a violent yearning to drown her sorrows. Out of nowhere someone takes an interest in her. He is Gabor, a knife thrower who needs a human target for his show. The girl, Adele, has never been lucky and nowhere else to go. So she follows him. They travel along the northern bank of the Mediterranean to perform and in the process win a big fortune through gambling. Although both of them continue a platonic relationship, the sex-starved girl attempts to sleep with handsome guys she encounters throughout the journey. Finally, Adele falls in love with a newly-wed groom and both of them elope to Greece, while Gabor is stuck in Turkey. Then Adele is dumped by the groom. Only by now both Gabor and Adele realize that luck isn't with them unless they get together again. But both of them are so broke that they can't even feed themselves, let alone getting back to Paris and reunite... Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
The opening sequence lasts for more than 7 minutes with a monologue by Vanessa Paradis. In the DVD commentary, director 'Patrice Leconte' says that a single shot was necessary using several cameras. See more »
In the hospital where Adele and Gabor bet on the fly, the wagered watch is on the desk before Gabor hands it to Adele. In the next shot the watch is back on the desk. See more »
An erotic, funny, strikingly original romantic comedy
The old Hollywood formula, Boy Meets Girl, Cute, is given a nice French twist is this very funny and intriguing romantic comedy starring Daniel Auteuil and Vanessa Paradis. Paradis is Adele, a twenty-something waif who looks like a Parisian model except for the charming and disarming gap between her two front teeth. She's sur la pont and looking to jump off into the Seine. Auteuil appears as Gabor, a forty-something carnival knife thrower, looking for a new and more exciting target. He taunts her a little, shames her a bit. She gets insulted and jumps. He jumps in right after her.
Well, I have it on good report that Nora Ephron is jealous as hell. I mean wouldn't, say, Meg Ryan and Mel Gibson just be adorable meeting like this?
I...don't...think...so. For one thing, this would never work in the American cinema since one of the essentials is that the "boy" be twenty years older than the "girl" so that his patience with her frequent liaisons is plausible. Hollywood would have to find another slant on their relationship (something banal no doubt) and alter the ending to make it more romantic. But Hollywood can do that! Watch for the remake--a Nancy Meyers film, directed by Ephron--in theaters everywhere, circa 2010.
Since the script, containing some very witty dialogue by Serge Frydman, and the fine acting by Auteuil and Paradis, carry the show, Director Patrice Leconte was able to film this on the cheap in glorious black and white, which doesn't detract from the film at all. I didn't really notice there was no color until about twenty minutes in because I was so taken with, first, Paradis as the girl who could never say no, and then Auteuil who is funny, commanding, and obviously having a great time. By the way, the device of her being interviewed to open the film makes us think for a moment that we are being shown a video recording of that interview. Following a well-established cinematic convention of rendering video recordings in black and white, this makes our minds accept the black and white cinematography without question.
Paradis is child-like and sexy by turns. The scene after the train passes and she says to Gabor something like, "You KNOW what I want to do, and I want to do it NOW," leads to a rather strange, but clearly erotic, symbolic sexual experience. Paradis plays her part very well.
The theme is the mystery of capricious luck, believed in passionately by those who feel they have none, which is how Adele and Gabor feel before they meet each other. Together, however, they can call the number at roulette, win at the lottery, and find gold on the ground!
The enigmatic and rather predictable ending warrants some pondering. Are they going to live happily ever after as man and wife, lovers, or as a kind of father/daughter team? It's not clear, and that's deliberate. Draw your own conclusions, but don't miss this one. It's definitely worth seeing.
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
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