A young writer becomes intrigued with a mysterious dark-haired woman who claims to be his long-lost sister and he begin an unusual relationship with her prompting a downward spiral involving his domineering mother and lovely fiancée
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Pierre, a young man of privilege, whose anonymously-published novel is a hit and who's about to marry his blond cousin, Lucie, abandons all when a dark-haired vagrant tells him her secret late one night in the woods: that she is Isabelle, his sister, abandoned by their father. Pierre breaks off with Lucie and his doting mother, heading for Paris with Isabelle, intent on knowing the dark side of human nature. He begins a novel, sending chapters under a pseudonym to his publisher; his relationship with Isabelle moves beyond the fraternal; and, in winter, the frail Lucie comes to live with them. Family jealousies mount, and Pierre may have discovered despair instead of the truth. Written by
The "X" in the title represents the number of drafts the script went through. See more »
Be careful! You dream of writing a mature work, but your charm lies in your thorough immaturity. You dream of setting fire to God knows what, of rising above your times like a dazzling cloud, leaving everyone terrified and admiring. But you weren't born for that, Pierre! You don't even believe it yourself.
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What to say? The film is overdone, for sure, but I can't agree with criticism of the lack of naturalism in the film. It's melodramatic, yes, it's over-the-top, yes, it's self-important, yes, but for all that, I think it ends up telling a story with interest and passion that would be very difficult to tell except in this way. It's a story about a certain, highly Romantic worldview that, yes, is basically horseshit, but at least Carax is honest with his audience about where that kind of self-aggrandizement leads.
What almost saves the film from total pretentiousness is the fact that Pierre must lie in the bed he has made for himself. If one demands so much "truth" out of life, if one rejects anything with the slightest tinge of falsehood about it, then that is yet another ridiculous attitude. And by that I mean, yes, in the end Pierre is ridiculous, but maybe that's Carax's point?
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he does end up as a Romantic hero in the end. And maybe it's not so original for that reason.
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