Anatomy of a Great Film

anatomy of a fall screenshot

Anatomy of a Fall, directed by Justine Triet, is a captivating crime drama that premiered on Oct. 20 and created a buzz among critics. What is the key to the success of this film, which was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival?  

Photo by Emma Hardy

Suicide or Murder? 

In an isolated chalet in the French Alps, German author Sandra’s life takes a traumatic turn when her French husband, Samuel, is found dead by their visually impaired son, Daniel. An investigation begins, in which Sandra is suspected of her husband’s murder. The trial progressively reveals the couple’s secrets and the tragedy’s events. 

The Success of the Movie Based on Critiques and the General Public  

The critics applaud the complexity of the characters and the actors’ performances. Foud’art describes the film as “an absolutely brilliant masterpiece that will be engraved in the history of cinema.” In France, the film achieved remarkable success, with over a million admissions at the box office. 

Contributed photo

A Bilingual Film   

Sandra’s first language is German, while her husband speaks French. They communicate in English by default. According to Le Devoir, “[language] is the embodiment of this couple’s difficulty in understanding each other”. The accused is also perceived as a foreigner in the judicial setting: “As for the trial, it is held in French, which puts Sandra at a disadvantage”. 

The Female Gaze 

On the other hand, the dialogue between Justine Triet’s camera and actress Sandra Hüller works perfectly: “In this way, the filmmaker and actress create an extraordinary female figure, capable of mobilizing multiple effects without, far from it, conforming to the usual criteria of a conquering, Machiavellian or victimized heroine”, according to Slate

A Must-See Film 

Anatomy of a Fall brings new nuances to contemporary cinema that tackles the dilemmas of the couple head-on (Scenes of a Marriage, Marriage Story). “I liked the idea of going to the place of justice to dissect, observe and put a couple’s relationship under the microscope,” summarises Justine Triet in an interview with Le Journal de Montréal

Nathalie Freidel, a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, enjoyed the film. She highlights the significance of a female role that avoids stereotypes and retains an element of mystery. 

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