Chabrol cuts Ludivine in two
by Camillo de Marco
Stanford White, the Manhattan architect famous for having designed Madison Square Garden at the end of the 19th century, was murdered in 1906 by a millionaire playboy, the husband of his ex-lover Evelyn Nesbitt, an enchanting former Broadway music-hall actress.
The master of the Nouvelle Vague, Claude Chabrol, a passionate enthusiast of stories of crime and adultery that unfold within the dark heart of the provincial bourgeoisie, has transposed the events to present-day Lyon, abandoning the darkest aspects of the affair and creating instead a drama about the mechanisms and perversions of power, vanity and ambition in French society (and in Western society in general).
There are no diabolic lovers in The Girl Cut in Two [+see also:
film profile] but cold performances exuding modern hypocrisy: François Berléand is a famous writer prepared to cheat on the wife who adores him with a very young television presenter, Ludivine Sagnier, who is in turn admired and loved by the descendent of an extremely rich family, Benoît Magimel.
Magimel, a true acting genius, is making his third appearance in a Chabrol film, following The Flower of Evil and Lady in Waiting [+see also:
film profile]. Here, Magimel plays a troubled, schizophrenic dandy who shoots his hated rival upon discovering that his young bride has been initiated in the most perverse arts of love by the writer.
Chabrol, who for the first time has written a screenplay with his trusted Assistant Director Cécile Maistre, avoids the banality of a simple news story, exploring in depth human nature and this "trompe-l'oeil world", as he himself describes it, made up of illusions and appearance, and imbued with a dark sensuality.
Released in France on August 8 to excellent box office results, the film is a French/German co-production between Alicéleo Cinéma and Integral Film with Rhône-Alpes Cinéma, France 2 Cinéma and with the participation of Canal + and Ciné Cinéma.
(Translated from Italian)
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