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"Girl on the Bridge"

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Patrice LeConte's Girl on the Bridge, shot in silky black-and-white that at times turns sulphurous, has the look of a forties Hollywood film noir crossed with a French art-house classic, and that might describe its content, too: Gabor (Daniel Auteuil), a has-been knife thrower, rescues a despairing girl, Adele (Vanessa Paradis), from jumping into the icy Seine and recruits her as the new partner in his act. The two form a chaste, mystical bond; the sex is all in the throwing, as Gabor, whose eyes glower here like no one's since Bela Lugosi's, flings his blades around Adele's curvy form as she gasps deliciously. This doesn't even qualify as metaphor, does it? Renowned for his versatility, Leconte will go anywhere for an effect. In Girl on the Bridge, he throws it all in -- fairy tales and occultism and Felliniesque carny melodrama and casinos on the Riviera. His mixture of moods and styles really doesn't add up, but the two leads have an intriguing Svengali-Trilby thing going on, and the knife-throwing sequences are so rattling that you leave the theater grateful you weren't nicked.


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