Claude Chabrol again goes about dissecting the vanities and hypocrisies of the rich and/or famous with A Girl Cut in Two, the latest of his nearly annual socially satiric potboilers. The outline, naturally, is familiar: a suspiciously de-eroticized love triangle in which fresh-faced young TV weathergirl Gabrielle (Ludivine Sagnier) finds herself cleaved, as the title would suggest, between the poisonous twin affections of famed aged novelist Charles Saint-Denis (François Berléand) and the arrogant, childish heir to a pharmaceutical fortune, Paul Gaudens (Benoît Magimel), she meets, not fortuitously, at a Saint-Denis book signing. Chabrol keeps the proceedings lively, if not fresh, with his usually effortlessly cynical take, a detached bemusement that precludes true emotional involvement yet engenders a certain self-conscious affection. Not unlike Chabrol’s recent works, Merci pour le chocolat and The Flower of Evil, A Girl Cut in Two takes a pragmatic, almost laidback approach to its sensational narrative, situating scandal as something of a given within such privileged settings. Though superficially similar to his 1994 film L’Enfer, which depicted the unraveling of a untrusting husband’s psyche as a headfirst plunge into fiery, sweaty derangement, the jealousy on display here is naturally dispassionate, a fact of life for those who never felt the need to learn to trust.
Click here to read Michael Koresky’s review of Chabrol’s A Girl Cut in Two.