It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
A few years ago, she may (or may not) have shot her uncle in the shoulder with his military rifle. It is of little matter; the case was dropped for lack of witnesses. But now it has been reopened by Pierre and Paul, two writers asked to write a TV script about her. It doesn't sound like much of a story, but Pierre and Paul are happy to have the 4,000 francs and so they take the assignment.
They take different approaches. Pierre, who fancies himself a serious writer, decides to operate entirely in the area of fiction. He will create the girl in his mind. Paul, a journalist sets out on a series of interviews with the girl and her uncle, and eventually finds the girl removing her miniskirt in his bedroom. Such are the dividends of realism.
Alain Tanner's "La Salamandre" isn't really about whether the girl - Rosemonde, named after the saint for the day she was born - actually pulled the trigger. It's about the elusiveness of human identity. Without meeting her, Pierre is able to evolve an elaborate story about her (that turns out to be uncannily accurate). But once he does meet her, once he sees the real thing, his creative impulse dries up and he is left with no ideas at all.
Paul, the journalist, is equally frustrated. He has the facts but no place to go with them. He even has the girl herself in his bed. But such is her concrete nature that he cannot possibly make up a fiction about her; he is more comfortable writing his analysis of politics in Brazil.