Why this film’s painfully real argument went viral

The fictitious Sandra is neither a femme fatale nor frightened victim in the electrifying noir thriller-meets-courtroom drama written by Triet and her partner, Arthur Harari, who has co-written most of the films she’s directed. Anatomy contains surely one of the most blazing and memorable marital arguments ever seen in cinema. One particular scene went viral earlier this year, and currently has just under 10 million views on TikTok. When the film first premiered at Cannes, Justine Triet told the BBC that she had wanted to explore the tensions of a long-term relationship.

“I think it’s very complicated to live together,” she said at the time. “What do we owe each other, what do we give each other, what is love and how can we live together? It seems very simple, but in fact it is a question.”

Hüller agrees that the scene is “extraordinary” but thinks that’s down to the strength of Triet and Harari’s own relationship.

“It’s not because of us, it’s because of the writing. It helps that the people who wrote it are living together, and they wrote down their worst nightmare, how it could go really, really wrong,” she points out.

“They went into a place that was really uncomfortable, I think. And I can only thank them for that because it was brave. I’m often talking about bravery in filmmaking, but I do think it was really brave to write this as a couple; I’ve lots of respect for that.” 

An international success story

Anatomy of a Fall is an examination of the breakdown of a relationship through the lens of the courtroom, set against the formality of the French legal system, already portrayed in 2022 by Alice Diop in the film Saint Omer as inherently prejudiced towards women accused of emotive crimes.

In the witness box, Sandra is interrogated about her dedication as a wife and also as a mother to the couple’s young son Daniel (played by Milo Machado-Graner) who happens to be blind and also the main witness. Her marital infidelities with both men and women are exposed to the court.

Does Sandra’s bisexuality count against her in the courtroom, as some have debated? “It’s interesting that fact is frightening for some people,” Hüller replies. “Or that even makes her, I don’t know, less believable? I mean, let’s not even go there, it’s just ridiculous.”

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