Review: An American romantic goner in Paris and the perverse pleasures of ‘Thirst Street’s’ comic madness

Damien Bonnard and Lindsay Burdge in the film “Thirst Street.”
(Samuel Goldwyn Films)

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.



‘Thirst Street’

In English and French with English subtitles

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

Not rated


Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood

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