Shot in black and white, the film offers beautiful cinematography that includes scenic views of Paris, Greece and Turkey and exotic carnival shots of midgets and contortionists that impress the eye.
These beautiful scenes are supplemented by a human-interest story that tugs at the heart. Adele, played charmingly by Vanessa Paradis, is a lost soul who never counts on anything but her knack for bad luck. Her inability to resist any man who approaches her makes her seem flighty and shallow. She is waiting for something to happen to her, but so far in her life, nothing has appeared.
When she meets Gabor (Daniel Auteuil), a carnival knife-thrower, things finally start happening. Gabor, who needs a partner to charm audiences and make his act the best in the world, convinces Adele to become his target.
From then on, the film brims with shots of swirling wheels of death that amplify sexual tension. After her initial fear, Adele finds that knife throwing is the biggest thrill of her life and gives up her impulsive sex habits to indulge in the danger of being a carnival target.
The sensual knife-throwing scenes are breathless and tense, surpassing any hot-and-heavy sex scene. The combination of fear and pleasure involved in the act produces erotically charged scenes between Gabor and Adele. They do it in front of audiences for money, but they also do it because nothing else can compare to its intensity.