Arthur (Mathieu Amalric) is a history teacher who lives alone in Paris after having broken up with Claire (Jeanne Balibar). He is a sensitive man, full of existential doubts and questions. He has to go to Lisbon to meet an eminent historian whose work is the subject of his thesis. Having just made up with Claire, he decides to take her along. She's an ideal travel companion and it seems their relationship has not yet exhausted its potential. But moving from Lisbon to Oporto, their fantasy of a second honeymoon clashes with the reality of a world on the verge of a nightmare. Director Jean-Claude Biette uses the three cities -- Paris, Lisbon and Porto -- for stylistic purposes. There are also three bridges in the film -- Seine, Tejo and Douro. The choice of Porto, which has a bridge constructed by Gustave Eiffel, reminds the viewer of the veteran Portuguese director Manuel Oliveira, although the bridge filmed in Porto is a different one. The figure of the old professor is a variation of a dramatic element seen in all previous films of the director. Trois Ponts sur la Riviére was screened as part of the International Forum of New Cinema section of the 49th Berlin Film Festival, 1999.
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