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By Merle Bertrand | June 7, 2001

There’s someone out there for everyone. That old as chondrite cliché seems to be the message behind director Dean Kapsalis’ sentimental and enchanting love story “Jigsaw Venus.”
In a different era, the redheaded woman would have been the paragon of beauty. In our supermodel thin-worshipping world, however, she’s simply heavyset, which goes a long way towards explaining why she lives alone and lonely, passing the time by assembling the jigsaw puzzle of the goddess Venus laid out on her hardwood floor.
Yet, she has an admirer; a handsome but exceedingly nervous and clutzy fellow who lives in an upstairs apartment. Standing naked, she watches him through her peephole as he tries to screw up the courage to knock, inevitably fails, and stumbles his way on up the stairs.
This might have continued forever, had she not taken matters into her own hands one day; flinging the door open wearing only a nightgown and greeting her stunned suitor as he stood poised to knock. Heavenly bliss and a bittersweet recollection of how lonely she’d been follows.
This silent film is one of the most beautifully lit and photographed films to flicker across the big screen in quite some time. It’s clear that Kapsalis and company were trying to capture the rich visuals and warm, softly illuminating lighting style of the painter who created the Venus masterpiece our heroine assembles. It’s equally as clear that they succeeded.
This brave and unconventional love story is as sweet as it is gorgeous. It’s made even better by the mischievous streak Kapsalis displays; the pratfalls and gently cheap laughs he generates by having a particularly strategic piece of the puzzle come up missing, stuck to our heroine’s ample bare behind. Oh, and yes, this piece doubles as a fine metaphor, in case you were wondering.
Would most guys have preferred watching “Jigsaw Venus” if the naked lead actress had been someone like Jennifer Aniston? No doubt. But then, that would have defeated the whole purpose of this exceptional film.

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