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The image of a mysterious, solitary filmmaker - a cineaste maudit - who flees from both the media and the public, is unrelentingly bound to the figure of Leos Carax, in France. Elsewhere, ... See full summary »
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem,
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In 1997, for it's fiftieth anniversary, the Cannes Film Festival asked Leos Carax for a short film, a kind of postcard addressed to the festival, in which the director would give news of himself and of his film project "Pola X".
Marc (Michel Piccoli) recruits Alex (Denis Lavant), son of his former, now dead colleague. Alex is a card shark with a big dream to go out to the world and leave his own mark. His determination leads him to break up with his girl friend, Lise (Julie Deply). Alex initially refuses to help Marc and Hans for their "job" of stealing the culture of new drug. But Anna (Juliette Binoche)'s charm and beauty were irresistible. Alex joins the elders. Alex's dance to David Bowie's Modern Love illustrates unfolding emotions of young Alex moving into an adult (graying if not dying) world. The interplay among the generations, between genders, among social classes, memory and hopes, all played against black and white and occasional red back drop. Anna's cobalt blue robe punctuates the moment when Alex confesses his love for her. Written by
It's the ultimate crime film, equally suspenseful and poetic, with Leos Carax brand of love potion
You would not see such a treatment to a film in mainstream Hollywood, perhaps not even in independents. There are all the elements of a gangster movie and then some: the fall guy, the family talk, the villains visit (the boss is an American woman), the secret ploy, the deftly heist, the car (and motorcycle) chases, and flying of bullets. Writer-director Leos Carax spared no expense in delivering his stylish French gangster film with pizzazz - he included a bold parachuting from a plane aerial sequence, all this in addition to his usual stock of heart and soul characters, and graphic cinematography with visual poetry.
The central pursuit of love is never left out in a Carax story. In fact we have more than double dosage here: Denis Levant's Alex has Julie Delpy's Lise faithfully haunting him, besides his loving attraction to Juliette Binoche's Anna, who is hypnotically in love with Michel Piccoli's veteran gangster Marc.
Carax's script and dialogs are well polished (the subtitles did do justice). There are mentions of Haley's Comet; repeat references to hot weather; hi-tech allusions of "Darley-Wilkinson" with moneymaking "STBO" cure to a deadly virus. There is a certain playfulness to the tone of the whole film: besides demonstrations of Alex's ventriloquial skill, there are love interludes; pop music delivery with frames of Levant's foot a-running and dancing; casual sing-alongs in a convertible during an escape; undying exchanges while gut's a-bleeding; Hans Meyer, playing Marc's partner Hans, provided dashes of humor through his presence.
This is definitely a film to appreciate. "Mauvais Sang" was made in 1986 and many of its elements and scenes were mimicked in later Hollywood/independent flicks, affirming the creative genius in Leos Carax, a French filmmaker extraordinaire.
Thanks to Landmark Theatres in the Bay Area, foreign film goers in San Francisco were given a chance to see all four of Leos Carax feature films. Bravo!
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