Anatomy of a Fall (Justine Triet, 2023, France)

Anatomy of a Fall is the latest film from director Justine Triet, co-written with her partner Arthur Harari. Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival (as well as the Palm Dog), the film was picked up by US distribution by Neon, who has led an aggressive awards campaign for the film, resulting in nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress - among others. The film is perhaps most praised for the central performance by German actress Sandra Huller, who performs here both in English and French, having learned the latter language for the role. 

Anatomy has the feel of a multi-episode drama condensed into a two-and-a-half-hour film. The titular fall is the fall of Sandra's husband Samuel from the second floor of their chateau in the French Alps. The fall leads to an extensive investigation to find out Sandra's innocence. Much of the film takes place in courtrooms, where Antoine Reinartz gives a very spirited performance as the public prosecutor - giving a lot of momentum to the film. As expected, Anatomy is not a simple legal procedural, but an exploration into the nature of truth itself. Particularly, it examines truth in relationships.

Spoiler art: while Sandra is ultimately deemed innocent, the film leaves her true innocence ambiguous. There are many different theories about the film. Perhaps Sandra's son Daniel was responsible for the murder (he was earlier blinded in an accident he blamed on his father). There is also the question of Sandra's lawyer Vincent Renzi, who also happens to be an old lover. While Anatomy could have been condensed into a shorter film, it is nevertheless a strong effort from Triet. For fans of this genre, it should be sought out. It may appeal less to the general arthouse audience, surprisingly.



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