Justine Triet

7.1 Age of Panic (2013)
6.9 In Bed with Victoria (2016)
6.5 Sibyl (2019)
7.1 Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Justine Triet (France, 1978) debuted, after many documentaries, with La Bataille de Solferino/ Age of Panic (2013), the portrait of a divorced television journalist with a child and a lover.

Victoria/ In Bed with Victoria (2016) about a divorced hyper-active lawyer with two daughters who overdoses.

The psychological thriller Sibyl (2019) is about an alcoholic novelist and psychoanalyst with two daughters and about a love triangle between her patient who is a young pregnant actress thinking of getting an abortion, the actor who got her pregnant and his wife who is the film s director.

The 2.5-hour Anatomie d'une Chute/ Anatomy of a Fall (2023), co-written with Arthur Harari, is half a courtroom drama and half a kammerspiel. Again, the protagonist is a middle-aged mother who is an confident independent professional (a novelist after the journalist, the lawyer and the psychoanalyst) and sexually active. The investigation indulges in computer-based visual and aural technologies. However, we realize how little technology improves over the old-school investigations based only on intuition, witnesses and physical clues. The audio recordings fail to establish a definitive truth but succeed in making us see what we have already seen in a different light. The child sits in the courtroom and listens to all the evidence just like the jurors. The bickering of his parents, the frustration of his father, the emotions of his mother are all new to him just like to the jurors. Ultimately the child creates the "truth" that the jury accepts. He is the real deus-ex-machina. He is the real jury, and once he decides who is innocent he can easily convince the court of it. On the other hand, most viewers probably prefer to think that his mother got away with murder. At one point we see a literary critic on television point out that "the story of a writer who murdered her husband is a lot more interesting than a teacher who committed suicide"; which is an interesting analysis of which "truth" is more likely to be created in the collective imagination.

German writer Sandra lives in an isolated mountain cottage with her French husband Samuel and their son Daniel. A French journalist, Zoe, is trying to interview her, but her husband is playing loud music while working in the attic. Sandra is more interested in Zoe's life than in discussing her own work, but in any case the interview has to be stopped because of the noise. Daniel, a visually impaired child, is playing with his dog in the snow when he suddenly finds his father Samuel dead in the snow. He has signs of a heavy blow on the head. The investigating police is faced with two possibilities: that he jumped from the attic of his own will or that someone killed him. All the evidence points towards foul play and Sandra becomes the suspect because she was the only one in the house. Sandra hires an old friend as her defense lawyer, Vincent, and tell him that most likely Samuel kills himself: he had tried before. Daniel's testimony is that his parents were not arguing after Zoe left, but a reenactment of the fall proves that he cannot possibly have heard their voices from outside. The child then changes his testimony claiming that he was inside the house, but now he is no longer credible. On the other hand, an audio recording surfaces that documents a violent argument between Sandra and Samuel just the day before. Sandra is formally indicted of the murder and the court assigns an officer, Marge, to live with her and make sure Daniel is not influenced to testify one way or another. Sandra tells Vincent about her marital problems. Samuel was responsible of the accident that causes Daniel to partially lose his sight. Samuel felt guilty. They had financial problems. When the trial finally takes place, Zoe plays the recording of her attempted interview with Sandra. The prosecutor reveals that Sandra is bisexual and Zoe admits that it sounds like Sandra was flirting with her. The prosecutor implies that Samuel might have played loud music out of jealousy. The experts testify that the only rational explanation is that someone hit Samuel in the attic and then pushed the body down. Sandra testified that Samuel, who was treated for depression after the accident, tried to kill himself six months earlier with some pills. A psychologist testifies that Samuel was depressed but places all the blame on Sandra: Sandra was making Samuel feel guilty, Sandra is responsible for Samuel's writing block. Sandra in fact stole an idea from Samuel's unfinished novel and turned it into her own bestselling novel. Samuel was a failure because of her manipulative behavior. The court then hears the audio recording of the argument between Sandra and Samuel. This is a lengthy dialogue in which they accuse each other. Samuel accuses Sandra of stealing his idea and of cheating on him. Sandra admits having sex with a woman and several other flings. We learn that Sandra's bestsellers are all autobiographical: her father s death, her mother s illness, and the accident that almost killed Daniel. Daniel is in the audience and hears all the sordid details about his parents. Vincent reveals that Samuel was routinely recording the conversations with Sandra, transcribing them and sending them to his publisher in lieu of real chapters of a novel. Vincent paints a picture of Samuel as a man devastated by the accident, who decided to move back to his hometown, bought a chalet and started renovating it, ran out of money and couldn't write; i.e. the portrait of a likely suicide. Then a surprise: Daniel intends to testify some new details. His testimony definitely proves that his mother was not lying about Samuel being suicidal. That's enough to get Sandra acquitted. She returns home and faces Daniel. They don't look happy. We are left with the douth.

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