Film Review: Girl on the Bridge in English, La fille sur le pont in French

by DerdriuMarriner

Girl on the Bridge is the English title of La fille sur le pont. The black-and-white French comedy-drama romance offers English subtitled French dialogues.

Bridges and roofs are high enough for jumpers:

Girl on the Bridge appears as the English title by which the 2008-released DVD of the French comedy-drama La fille sur le pont of 1999 is known. The black-and-white romance begins with Adèle (Vanessa Paradis) monologuing an off-screen psychologist. Two months before her birthday, the twenty-one-year-old considers:
• dependency upon parents the holding tank of a girl whose existence relates meaningfulness with a high school dropout on an emancipated love-making spree; and
• independence, through 15+-minute stands, the waiting room where all lasting luck happens to life's other passengers.

Adèle describes as facilitating casual lust with an anesthesiologist, judge, manager, and psychologist and obstructing permanent love:
• impulsiveness; and
• inability to say no to deceitful male hands, looks, and words.

Adèle (Vanessa Paradis) sees Passerelle Debilly (Debilly Footbridge) as a suicide jump-off spot, not as a historic metallic bridge constructed in 1900 for the World's Fair and offering a gorgeous view of the Eiffel Tower.

Passerelle Debilly (foreground) with Eiffel Tower (background): Paris, north central France
Passerelle Debilly (foreground) with Eiffel Tower (background): Paris, north central France

Knives are quick against fixed and moving targets


The monologue ends with Adèle jumping into the Seine from a footbridge near the Eiffel Tower. A knife-thrower (Daniel Auteuil) follows Adèle and has the ambulance staff (Pierre-François Martin-Laval, Jean-Paul Rouvray) reject her donating her hypothermic body to science. He gets Adèle to be his latest target by manipulating:

  • a fly to one of three sugar cubes at the nurse's (Natasha Solignac) station; and
  • a necklace from his closed left fist.

Erratic aims haunt 40+-year-old knife-throwers. Gabor's solution is selection of spring roof-jumpers and winter bridge-jumpers for whom life begins to have less appeal than danger and death. He judges Adèle to be his lucky charm: 

  • in France, Italy, and Monaco; and 
  • on fixed and moving boards. 


Girl on the Bridge (La Fille sur le Pont) ~ available via Amazon

A beautiful waif (Vanessa Paradis [Johnny Depp's ex-girlfriend]) is about to leap to her death in the Seine but is rescued from by a raffish carnival knife thrower (Daniel Auteuil, in a performance that won him a Cesar Award for Best Actor).
French thriller films

Life is as lucky as #0, #32, #154


Adèle knows casual encounters in a bathroom with a TGV waiter (Farouk Bermouga) and on top of the piano with a contortionist (Frédéric Pfluger) and a table with a waiter (Stéphane Metzger) since Gabor disdains involvements with targets after splitting with Irene (Catherine Lascault). She leaves in a lifeboat with Takis Papadopoulos (Demetre Georgalas) after a knife-throwing performance for his wedding cruise. The jilted Italian bride (Isabelle Petit-Jacques) makes up her mind against jumping off the yacht for serving as target ... until a knife lodges in her left thigh. A helicopter rescue to a Greek airbase nudges Adèle and Takis apart while Gabor free-falls as a sandwich-board man for belly-dancers and sells knives for cucumbers, dates, and doughnuts.


La Fille sur le pont comes full circle with historic bridges in super-historic cities vis-vis saving lives in life-or-death scenarios.

At Paris' Passerelle Debilly Gabor saves himself when he saves jumper Adèle, who saves him a second time, at the end, at Istanbul's Galata Bridge.
Galata Bridge (Turkish:  Galata Köprüsü) spans the Golden Horn of the Bosporus at Istanbul, northwestern Turkey
Galata Bridge (Turkish: Galata Köprüsü) spans the Golden Horn of the Bosporus at Istanbul, northwestern Turkey

A lighter and a torn bill memorialize happiness


Niches in a homeless shelter -- where the cigarette lighter initialed T.P. found on the ground after Adèle's #154 wins a car and the torn bill of him without Adèle miss getting stolen -- and Istanbul's market offer nothingness. A bone-crunching traffic accident while chasing Adèle's lookalike prompts Gabor to a bridge. Adèle questions the stupidity of suicide over knife-throwing.

The 91-minute film -- whose R rating involves minimal drinking, gambling, intimacy, smoking, swearing, violence -- reveals happy endings consistent with tightly woven actions and characters, through: 

  • candid French dialogues and English subtitles; 
  • cinematographer Jean-Marie Dreujou; 
  • costumer designer Anne Périer;
  • director Patrice Leconte; 
  • editor Joëlle Hache; 
  • producer Christian Fechner;
  • production designer Ivan Maussion; and
  • screenplaywright Serge Frydman. 


la fille sur le pont music video: clips from film with song from soundtrack, "Who will take my dreams away?" sung by Marianne Faithfull, written by Angelo Badalamenti and Marianne Faithfull

Uploaded to YouTube on June 19, 2009 by gabriele1717 ~ URL:



My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.


Patrice Leconte, whose resumé includes cartoonist as well as film director, gained recognition in the United States with La Fille sur le pont ("The Girl on the Bridge").

Salon du livre (Book Fair), Paris, north central France, March 2011
Salon du livre (Book Fair), Paris, north central France, March 2011
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

The Knife Thrower, plate XV from Jazz, c. 1943: cut-outs by Henri Matisse (December 31, 1869 - November 3, 1954) ~ available via AllPosters

The Knife Thrower, pl. XV from Jazz, c.1943

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 03/16/2015, DerdriuMarriner
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