25 August 2023.
ANATOMIE D’UNE CHUTE (Anatomy of a Fall) *** (vo French, English, German)
Two writers, their son and their dog live in a remote chalet somewhere in France. One day, the wife, who is German, is being interviewed by a young journalist about her latest best-selling book. Her French husband, whom we do not see, begins to play such loud, jarring music from his workroom upstairs that the two women decide to postpone the interview to another date.
The journalist leaves, the wife goes upstairs, the adolescent son, who is partially blind, goes out for a walk with the dog.
When the boy returns, he finds his father dead from a fall, lying in a pool of blood in the snow in front of the chalet. And so starts the premise of the film – how did he die, was it a suicide or a murder? The wife is now the main suspect.
This is a well-written, well-acted (especially by the wife, played by German actress Sandra Hüller), in-depth courtroom drama that brings in multiple layers of relationships, but there are many such suspenseful cases like this on our TV screens. A competent, psychological whodunnit by Justine Trier, but why it won the Palme d’Or in Cannes this year is a mystery. For it’s not particularly memorable and it lacks the universality, grandeur or shock value that are often the hallmarks of festival winners. Maybe it won because they wanted a French film with a female director as the standard bearer.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.