Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Girl Cut in Two

Leon casino,

With an incredible cast and a salacious storyline A Girl Cut in Two, a.k.a. La Fille coupée en deux, proves that vet filmmakers can still pack a punch. In this case the vet is Claude Chabrol sometimes called Hitchcockian, and of the French directors who made name films during the 60s resurgence the one still actively distributed in America. That said, Girl Cut in Two is not on par with Chabrol's best work and will work best for Francophiles and completists of the films of Ludivine Sagnier.
Sagnier plays a television weather girl (Gabrielle Aurore Deneige, her TV nom de plume is Gabrielle Snow) who becomes involved with an older and famous author (Benoît Magimel recently seen in Tell No One). With her career on the rise after a promotion to talk show host Gabrielle instead chooses to brood after getting dumped. Her author made her prove her love by taking her to his posh men's club where the other members debauched her while he watched.
An obnoxious heir (François Berléand as the dandy Charles Saint-Denis) has designs on Gabrielle and persuades her to marry even though by this time she's damaged goods. Eventually Charles breaks under the strain of having married a woman who doesn't love him, in addition to his being a weak vessel himself, and seeks vengeance against the writer. If you know the story of Evelyn Nesbit you know where this story leads. Everyone Chabrol presents acts selfish. There are no characters you want to root for and the falling action dwells on the moral consequences to all involved. There's a strange resolution which explains the title in a way one doesn't expect.
A Girl Cut in Two has style to spare and builds suspense up to its pivotal moment. It was hard to connect with the various cold characters and the intimacy of the plot left no room for compassion.


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