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The Girl


The Girl

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Upscale soft-core porn masquerading as an arty romantic drama, Sande Zeig's The Girl stars Agatha De La Boulaye as a delicately butch American lesbian prone to staring thoughtfully into the distance while wandering through a Paris devoid of unattractive people and overcome with stylish ennui. Wandering the streets one night, De La Boulaye happens across a gorgeous bisexual nightclub singer (Claire Keim) whose tendency toward drama, navel-gazing, and laughably overwrought speech more than matches De La Boulaye's own. Overcome with passion, the two are soon embroiled in an overtly sexual affair that's far too pretentious to last. But while Keim repeatedly and dramatically predicts that she will inevitably betray her new lover, De La Boulaye continues the pursuit, even after Keim's brutish male lover threatens to kill them. Delving further into the realm of self-parody with each tortured monologue and overwrought exchange, The Girl resembles the unedited work of an unpromising student filmmaker whose pretension exponentially outweighs her ability. Zeig seems to aim for the outsized, exotic l'amour fou of Patrice Leconte (Girl On The Bridge) or Wong Kar-Wai, but ends up with a dour, humorless mess that's more silly than sexy. Employing every art-house cliché in the book, from De La Boulaye's ripe, cryptic narration to the ever-present haze of cigarette smoke in the air, The Girl subscribes to a gratingly juvenile take on relationships that confuses masochism for devotion and self-destruction for romance. Zeig deserves much of the blame for The Girl's portentous emptiness, but neither lead contributes much, except by looking good naked—which both are called upon to do quite often—and by not giggling while delivering Zeig and Monique Wettig's unintentionally hilarious dialogue. The Girl is pretentious tripe, but as Zeig's bid to become the Zalman King of lesbian erotica, it's an unconditional success.