Mon November 3, 2008
A Girl Cut in Two
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
"The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young." Oscar Wilde
I'm cut in two myself: wanting A Girl Cut in Two to be a companion piece to Patrice Leconte's unforgettable Girl on the Bridge (1999) and yet realizing it is wrong to expect such a complement. French icon Claude Chabrol's Girl Cut is an amusing and agonizing romance between an older writer and a young TV weather girl, about 30 years in between their ages. The story of the lost young woman and her older carnival knife thrower in Girl on a Bridge has layers of emotion where Girl Split contains little depth but the same type of metaphors.
Girl Cut recycles the January-May love affair, similar to the recent Elegy about a young woman and an older professor. The immediate attraction between the two is not explored, just the girl's voluptuousness and his pot-belly, receding hair, and low energy level. But then I should not forget the ultimate aphrodisiac: intellectualism. The common denominator is the mind meld, enacted by an aging thinker/artist and a young open mind.
The figurative splitting is woven into the plot: A spoiled, rich young man, Paul Gaudens (Benoit Magimel), falls for an indifferent Gabrielle (Ludivine Sagnier), who has a yearning for the older writer Charles Saint-Denis (Francoise Berleand). The triangle illustrates the complex yearnings of an attractive young woman, whose mother (Marie Bunel) spies Gabrielle's need for the father figure as well as her own wish for her daughter to be financially comfortable. The warfare among the classes is typically Francaise.
As for Gabrielle, it is never clear where her love for the old man comes from, for she never seems to read his works, and their interaction before the first tryst is superficial. Perhaps she has a thing for big bellies and bald pates.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at http://publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/ppr/index.shtml at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime at http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/arts.artsmain Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com