Set against Paris' oldest bridge, the Pont Neuf, while it was closed for repairs, this film is a love story between two young vagrants: Alex, a would be circus performer addicted to alcohol... See full summary »
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Set against Paris' oldest bridge, the Pont Neuf, while it was closed for repairs, this film is a love story between two young vagrants: Alex, a would be circus performer addicted to alcohol and sedatives and Michele, a painter driven to a life on the streets because of a failed relationship and an affliction which is slowly turning her blind. The film portrays the harsh existence of the homeless as Alex, Michele and Hans, an older vagrant survive on the streets with their wits. As they both slowly get their lives back together, Michele becomes increasingly dependent on Alex as her vision deteriorates further. Fearing that Michele will leave him if she receives a new medical treatment Alex attempts to keep Michele practically a prisoner. The streets, skies and waterways of Paris are used as a backdrop to the story in a series of stunning visuals which dominate the film. Written by
Leos Carax was originally given permission to use the real Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris and have it closed for filming but delays in filming meant the permission expired and he had to reconstruct the whole thing on a lake near Montpellier, France. The construction of a new version of the Pont-Neuf - and its surrounding buildings in Paris - helped make the film of the most expensive French films ever made. See more »
After the last end title, during a fraction of a second, there is a handwritten inscription "à Luje - Amour - A." (To Luje - Love - A.) A. stands for Alexandre (Leos Carax' real first name) and Luje for Juliette (Binoche). See more »
Of the four feature films from French writer-director Leos Carax, 1991 "Les Amants du Pont-Neuf" is the most hopeful and happy (mind you it's not the generic definition of 'happy' per se), still a story of love, an extraordinary loving relationship maturing through time and fateful instances as the film progresses. You might even agree afterall, that the whole journey of experience is rather satisfying. Director Leos Carax once again demonstrated a feast of his talented visual eye: things, faces, scenes, close-ups, aerial or simple wide shots, are composed, captured within the frames, graphically presented. He optimized the use of colors and movements: a fete of lights and fireworks celebrations, dazzling fire-eating shows, caressing shots of waves in motion of zigzagging speed boat and water-skiing.
Carax sure didn't water down any sentiments - he used bold strokes with no apology: his intro showed us the 'unpleasant' side of Paris, the dream city of Europe has homeless and sights of street people, too. Binoche, as always, dependably delivered an intense portrayal of this artist, Michele, on the verge of going blind (note the ending credits roll indicating the paintings were done by Juliette Binoche herself), and as the story unfolds, has a past mesmerizingly mysterious to Lavant's Alex character.
Again captured on film is Denis Lavant's legs a-moving within a frame running, dancing. Reminiscent of Truffaut and Jean-Pierre Leaud's Antoine filmic partnership - Lavant is Alex in three of Carax' endeavors: "Boy Meets Girl" 1984; "Bad Blood" 1986; and here in "The Lovers on the Bridge." (To see Denis Lavant away from his 'boyish' roles, try French director Claire Denis' 1999 "Beau Travail" - another intense delivery, and we actually get to see more of Lavant's solo legwork a-dancing.)
Yes, it's quite an ambitious film. Carax packed a lot of layers of emotions, spins and details, along with stunning visual angles and photographic magic in this one story. He is truly a passionate filmmaker and dramatic writer. Binoche and Lavant performed terrifically well together, and the third character, Klaus Michael Gruber as Hans the homeless senior also with a mysterious past, added accents with his performance. The sequence towards the end, first you get the telling of a joke with hearty laughter, then the fateful phrase of "ce soir c'est le soir", to the underwater sequence and what follows - Carax would not let up with any moment for you, the audience, to breathe after laughs and gasps. Choreographed magic? Yes. Go see it for yourself. Hang in there with the pair and you will not be disappointed. Have an open mind and you'll enjoy it.
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