I went to see “Anatomy of a Fall” because it had won the Palme d’Or in Cannes last May, and I thought I would dislike it intensely. Its director and screen writer Justine Triet disgraced herself with her political speech attacking the French Government on its retirement law after having received all the financial help that French cinema distributes. Everyone was apalled by her. But I have to admit that the film is the most brilliant piece of cinema I have seen in a long time.
It is so clever and well filmed with the sensational German actress Sandra Hüller that I found the 150 mns almost too short. It is the story of a man, Samuel, who falls from the window of his chalet near Grenoble, in the French Alps. Was he thrown out by his wife, the beautiful and successful writer Sandra or did he commit suicide? He saw a psychiatrist regularly, took pills and had made a previous attempt, years ago. He was a failed writer and was jealous of his wife. Their son, Daniel, the wonderful Milo Machado Graner, was run over and became partly blind after his father sent a babysitter to get him out of school at the last minute because he was too busy to do it. Did he feel guilty from this horrible accident, did his wife kill him because she could not stand him anymore? She defends herself in English in court, her son gets angry at her because he doesn’t know whether she killed his father or not. The story is full of mysteries and the ending is unclear enough that we have to make up our own decision.
Sandra calls an old friend, a lawyer, when she is indicted of the murder of her husband and most of the film consists of the duet played by them both. She claims her innocence, we are not sure that he believes her completely and for two and half hours the jury and the spectator wonder how the film will end. The acting is fantastic and the script equally brilliant. The part played by the 11 year old Daniel is major.
In a more subdued way, the exhibition of oils and works on paper by Xavier Valls is just as wonderful. He used to show at Galerie Claude Bernard, which has changed drastically since the galerist’s death last fall. So the clever Sophie Scheidecker has organized an exhibition of works which were still owned by his widow Luisa, and they are beautiful and so peaceful. From Burgundy to Lago Maggiore, Mallorca to Notre Dame, his very diverse life, in Switzerland, Northern Italy, Spain and France, is illustrated here with refined drawings.
The gallery is near Place des Vosges in a courtyard full of lowers and trees and it is a delight to spend a little time watching the delicate paintings.
Galerie Sophie Scheidecker, 14 bis rue des Minimes. Works on paper range from 2 000 € to 12 500 € and oils rom 10 000 € to 35 000 €.
Share this Post