Using only the most basic raw ingredients -- a man, a woman, one night -- debut scripter/helmer Solange Martin spins a tale of urban romance marbled with spontaneous emotion in "On the Edge." Compact calling card, set in nocturnal Paris, is a good prospect for fest rosters and Eurotube.

Using only the most basic raw ingredients — a man, a woman, one night — debut scripter/helmer Solange Martin spins a tale of urban romance marbled with spontaneous emotion in “On the Edge.” Compact calling card, set in nocturnal Paris, is a good prospect for fest rosters and Eurotube.

With the voices of her two young sons playing in her memory, 40-ish bourgeois housewife Clara (Clementine Celarie) happily hops in a cab to the airport to meet her husband’s evening flight. He’s not on board. A phone call to his hotel reveals that hubby is with another woman. Stunned, Clara asks a 30-ish fellow eating a sandwich nearby, “Would you like to have a drink with me?” So begins a long night of bonding, at first awkward, between two free agents adrift in the dark.

Robert (Bruno Todeschini), a good-natured baggage handler, is reasonably self-confident. Clara leads a seemingly perfect life except for her low self-esteem. There is a touching authenticity to the proceedings as the duo frolic on the ethnic outskirts of nighttime Paris, meeting the mostly foreign workers who labor in hotels, restaurants, hospitals and service stations.

Intimate hand-held lensing sometimes wears out its welcome but echoes the tentative, sensual tone of the couple’s modest adventures. Give-and-take between lead thesps has convincing elasticity. Sotigui Kouyate is a standout as a lonesome but cheerful service station clerk.

Only major blot is a drastic continuity error in which the prominent bandage on Robert’s injured wrist repeatedly comes and goes.

On the Edge

French

Production

A Pan Europeenne release of an Odessa Films/La Sept Cinema co-production with participation of the CNC, Canal Plus and support from Procirep. (Foreign sales: WMF, Paris.) Produced by Why Not Prods. Directed, written by Solange Martin.

Crew

Camera (color), Antoine Roch, Jean-Rene Duveau, Nicolas Guicheteau; editors, Camille Cotte, Valerie Arlaud, Emmanuelle Poinsot, Luc Golfin; music, Laurent Petitgand; set decoration, Francoise Rabut; costume design, Francoise Clavel; sound, Marc-Antoine Beldent, Antoine Deflandre , Didier Lesage, Joel Rangon. Reviewed at MGM screening room, Paris, Jan. 31, 1995. Running time: 79 MIN.

With

Clementine Celarie, Bruno Todeschini, Sotigui Kouyate, Andree Damant, Asil Rais, Alou Sanogro.
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