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Biography #2 (for Girl on the Bridge)

Long considered one of France's finest filmmakers, multi-Cesar-winning director Patrice Leconte gained international recognition in 1995 with Ridicule. A period piece set in the 18th century, the film mocked the superficial attitudes of the French nobility by showing how a facility with language could determine your position in the court. Starring Fanny Ardant, the film's elegant costumes and decor were counterpoints to a scenario which underlined the ruling class's proclivity for repartee, cold-hearted cleverness and humiliation. The film struck a chord with its audiences who recognized its satirical resemblance to equivalent contemporary forms of social ammunition. Ridicule won four Cesar's (the French equivalent of the Academy Award) in 1996 including those for Best Film and Best Director.

Patrice Leconte began making films in the mid- 1970s, but the last decade has proved to be his most prolific creative period. With Monsieur Hire (1989), adapted from a novel by George Simenon, Leconte attained his first real art house hit in the United States. Comedian Michel Blanc, with whom Leconte had already worked on five previous films, played the eccentric low-key tailor who is suspected of murder simply because he spends all his time watching his comely neighbor played by Sandrine Bonnaire. In 1990, Leconte directed The Hairdresser's Husband in which middle-aged actor Jean Rochefort's pleasure in being coiffed by an attractive young woman leads rather quickly to marriage. This film, too, had a successful run in the United States.

In 1997, Leconte directed Une Chance sur Deux, a comeback vehicle for French icons Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo. The film also starred Vanessa Paradis as a petulant ex-con whose mother had affairs with both men,, one of whom is the young girl's father.

Girl on the Bridge is Leconte's eighteenth film, and the first film to capture Paradis as a woman rather than a rebellious young ingenue. This was the first collaboration between Leconte and actor Daniel Auteuil who stars in Leconte's latest film, La Veuve de Saint Pierre, along with Juliette Binoche and director Emir Kusturica.

Patrice Leconte is especially intrigued by the role of music in films, both in his own and in others. He recently contributed a preface to Jean-Pierre Eugene's book La Musique dans les films d'Alfred Hitchcock in which he wrote about the role of music in film. In Girl on the Bridge, music as diverse as American country and western tunes and North African oriental songs contribute to the film's flavor and style.

Patrice Leconte's stylish and eccentric stories, filled with clues to the intricacies and complexities of social behavior and human interaction, are favorites of filmgoers around the world.

Bio courtesy Paramount Classics for "Girl on the Bridge" (01-Jan-2000)


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