Director: Jerry Schatzberg
Starring: Faye Dunaway
Duration: 105 min.
When visited by an old friend hoping to make a film about her, a former fashion model recovering from a mental breakdown reflects on her rocky past and relationships. TTVRQJ3DEQAR
Puzzle of a Downfall Child is the debut feature film from fashion photographer turned director Jerry Schatzberg, based on the story of 1950s fashion model Anne St. Marie. Originally released in 1970, the film was recently restored and screened at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Somewhat of a lost gem of the 70's, Puzzle of a Downfall Child hasn't been available for home viewing until now. Faye Dunaway is totally captivating as Lou Andreas Sand, a beautiful but mentally unstable young woman, once a top fashion model and now living as a recluse in a beach cottage on Long Island. She shares cloudy memories from her past, some real but mostly delusions, when an old friend planning to make a film about her life stops by.
Besides the strong central performance, there is gorgeous cinematography, filled with interesting closeups, plenty of amazing stills, and lovely framing; and some interesting editing as the narrative randomly follows Sand's troubled mind as she struggles to recall the true details of her life.
It's an intriguing debut from Schatzberg who would go on to win the Palme d'Or in 1973 for Scarecrow. However it is far too disjointed, and as much as Dunaway makes it a pleasure to watch, the protagonist is difficult to sympathize with. So the film lacks any real emotional resonance. In the end it's a bit like watching a mock train wreck.
— Bonjour Tristesse