Archive of films Puzzle of a Downfall Child / Puzzle of a Downfall Child

1970, 105 min

Section: Tribute to Jerry Schatzberg
Year: 2013

After attempting suicide, model Lou Andreas Sand finds her life in pieces. At an isolated house among the sand dunes, Lou launches into a confession that may or may not be the truth: as she relives her past she gradually loses control over reality.… In his first film, Jerry Schatzberg proves himself a masterful and sophisticated teller of a fragmented story that transformed Faye Dunaway into a truly shining star.


At the start of his directing career, Schatzberg submitted a story of a former model named Lou Andreas Sand whose life and mental state are on the rocks. Lou takes refuge in an isolated house among the sand dunes, and there she launches into a confession that may or may not be the truth. The reason may very well be that her auditor is Aaron Reinhardt, a man who plans on turning her life story into a movie. Lou relives her past but her perception of reality is corrupt: she gradually loses control of the facts in a narcissistic attempt to conceal aspects of her personality.... Schatzberg in part drew inspiration for his debut from the life of model Anne St. Marie, whom he worked with as a photographer, even consulting with her about the film. The result revealed that the then 43-year-old tyro was a masterful storyteller. His feature drama constructs a fragmented tale out of memories and illusions that impact the heroine’s experience of the present, and the director complements arresting visuals with a complex soundtrack. French New Wave approaches and the influence of Nicolas Roeg made their mark on the self-assured narrative – as did Schatzberg’s fascination with Faye Dunaway who was just 29 at the time of shooting. After the gangster film Bonnie and Clyde (1967) the actress was just at the threshold of a star-studded career but in Schatzberg’s film she portrayed a much older character: the story finds Lou at age 40. Dunaway received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.


Peter Langs
, , ?

Carlotta Films
9 Passage de la Boule Blanche, 75012, Paris
Tel: +33 1 422 410 86
Fax: +33 1 422 416 78

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Tribute to Jerry Schatzberg
Director: Jerry Schatzberg
Screenplay: Adrian Joyce
Dir. of Photography: Adam Holender
Music: Michael Small
Editor: Evan Lottman
Producer: John Foreman
Production: Universal Pictures
Cast: Faye Dunaway, Roy Scheider, Barry Primus, Viveca Lindfors, Barry Morse
Contact: Peter Langs, Carlotta Films


Jerry Schatzberg

Film Director


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