In the fractured fairy tale "Thirst Street," micro-indie writer-director Nathan Silver ("Stinking Heaven") turns a flight attendant's Parisian fling into a psychodramatic peep show for the Polanski/Chabrol crowd.
American Gina (Lindsay Burdge, from "A Teacher") has baggage, as narrator Anjelica Huston calmly informs us: feelings of social invisibility, an unhealthy belief in destiny and the aftereffects of a lover's tragic end. A layover in the City of Lights leads to a hook-up with louche nightclub bartender Jérôme (Damien Bonnard), and triggers a meant-to-be mind-set in Gina that proves queasily indestructible, even when his ex-girlfriend Clémence (Esther Garrel) reappears.
Though there are ways Gina is as familiarly tipped toward madness as countless other romantic goners — self-destructive behavior, delusional episodes — Silver (who wrote the screenplay with C. Mason Wells) somehow keeps full-on psycho horror from rearing its head, which provides its own road-not-traveled freshness. He sticks to a kind of small-bore eddying downward, albeit with occasional gel-colored cinematography (by Sean Price Williams) and garish mood music that recalls '70s drive-in thriller erotica.
Burdge is ideally cast, too, toggling between putting a dark spin on fish-out-of-water comedy, and allowing just the right amount of receding sanity to jumble her Midwestern beauty. There's not much in the way of bruising insight into the makeup of a deteriorating personality, but for a compact spin through well-trod fields of lustful, sad-mad blindness, "Thirst Street" has its share of disreputably perverse pleasures.
In English and French with English subtitles
Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood