The Girl On The Train (La Fille Du Rer)
- Tom Dawson
- 28 May 2010
The latest from veteran French writer-director André Téchiné was inspired by a real-life case that provoked a political and media furore in France six years ago, when a young woman confessed to having entirely made up her claim that she had been the victim of a vicious anti-Semitic attack. The Girl on the Train is not, however, a documentary-drama, but a gripping work of cinematic fiction which grapples with what Téchiné has called the ‘human truth’ of the case.
The film is divided into two distinct parts: the first segment, ‘Circumstances’, examines the home life of jobless rollerblader Jeanne (Emilie Dequenne), who lives in the Parisian suburbs with her childminder mother Louise (Catherine Deneuve) and who embarks on an ill-fated relationship with a new wrestler boyfriend (Nicholas Duvauchelle). The second section, ‘Consequences’, explores the impact of Jeanne’s shocking fabrication, with Louise requesting the services of an old admirer, the high-profile Jewish lawyer Bleistein (Michel Blanc).
Dynamically photographed by Julien Hirsch, The Girl on the Train is powered by series of dramatic contrasts and oppositions: the modest suburban house of Jeanne and Louise for example is far removed from the moneyed, cosmopolitan milieu inhabited by Bleistein and his relatives. And in a fine cast, Dequenne produces an absorbing central performance, which conveys Jeanne’s physicality, her emotional immaturity and also her mysteriousness.
GFT, Glasgow, Fri 4–Thu 10 Jun.