Great Mystery of Human Heart; Chabrol Updates Sordid Love in 'Girl Cut in Two' Triangle

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 19, 2008 | Go to article overview

Great Mystery of Human Heart; Chabrol Updates Sordid Love in 'Girl Cut in Two' Triangle


Byline: Kelly Jane Torrance, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Critics have contrasted French subtlety to Hollywood's love of the over-the-top many times. Leave it to master Claude Chabrol, though, to make a film about the varieties of corruption and depravity without so much as a glimpse of nudity.

Mr. Chabrol, a founding member of the French new wave, has been making films for exactly 50 years. There's no question his work is still relevant. For his latest film, A Girl Cut in Two La fille coupee en deux ) he has taken a century-old, real-life scandal and made it contemporary, showing that the human heart hasn't evolved at the same rate as human society.

Gabrielle Deneige's last name can be translated as of the snow. This innocent (played by Ludivine Sagnier) won't remain so for long after her fateful introductions to two men in the space of an hour. At her mother's Lyon bookstore, she meets local literary lion Charles Saint-Denis (Francois Berleand). Gabrielle, a TV weather girl with greater ambitions, is as taken with the fiftysomething author as he is with her - this man of great experience can teach her a thing or two.

Charles isn't the beautiful blonde's only admirer. Paul Gaudens (Benoit Magimel) is the heir to a pharmaceutical fortune and, unlike Charles, isn't married. That doesn't necessarily make him a better catch. I'm used to getting what I want, honey, so don't fight it, he growls to Gabrielle. The troubled young man clearly is unstable, but his good looks and clear devotion make him hard to resist.

Indeed, Gabrielle will be cut in two by this pair, not from having to choose between them, but from trying to hold on to her bloom in the face of their very different forms of corruption. …

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