Manon on the Asphalt [subtitled]

Manon on the Asphalt

Manon on the Asphalt is a thoughtful French short film about a young woman bicyclist lying on the pavement after being struck by a car. We are able to see and hear her thoughts in the moments between the accident and her loss of consciousness.

She is mostly calm. She assumes she’s about to die, but perhaps she is too shocked to panic. Instead she becomes pensive.

She initially mostly thinks about her immediate situation, speculating about if someone has called an ambulance and such. Then she thinks about the future, about how the people in her life will find out about her death, and how they will react. Then she thinks about the past, about the last time she did this activity, the last thing she said to that person, etc.

This is a beautiful little film. It could have been sensationalized—by showing the accident itself, by making it into a race against time as the brave paramedics rush her to the hospital, etc.—but it’s not. It could have been saccharine—by presenting these lessons about how you should live every day like it’s your last, appreciate the good things and especially good people in your life, not put things off, not leave anything important unsaid when you part from someone since you may never see them again, etc. in a hackneyed manner—but it’s not.

Manon on the Asphalt is intelligent and emotionally moving. I admit I got choked up more than once, especially at her regrets. It certainly makes me want to hug the people I love just a little bit harder and longer the next time I see them.

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