As a deadly virus which infects people who have loveless sex sweeps Paris, a lonely pariah attempts to steal a potent antidote, only to fall for the mistress of his partner-in-crime. Is the infectious young love the cure to the bad blood?


Leos Carax


Leos Carax
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michel Piccoli ... Marc
Juliette Binoche ... Anna
Denis Lavant ... Alex
Hans Meyer ... Hans
Julie Delpy ... Lise
Carroll Brooks Carroll Brooks ... The American woman
Hugo Pratt Hugo Pratt ... Boris
Mireille Perrier Mireille Perrier ... The young mother
Serge Reggiani ... Charlie
Jérôme Zucca Jérôme Zucca ... Thomas
Paul Handford Paul Handford
Charles Schmitt Charles Schmitt
François Négret François Négret
Philippe Fretun Philippe Fretun
Thomas Peckre Thomas Peckre


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

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Taglines: that burns fast but lasts forever...


Crime | Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


An essential film of the Cinema du look movement of France. See more »


Anna: Silent men make people feel uneasy. You always think they're geniuses... or idiots.
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Referenced in Effraction: Episode dated 25 November 1986 (1986) See more »


Music by Charles Chaplin
VOGUES disques
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User Reviews

Joint internal flight
9 June 2012 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

I think music used throughout this reveals quite a bit of the cinematic exercise.

  • Prokofiev's Roméo and Juliette, so a ballet, a cinematic opera on forbidden love between youth that aches to dream. Love that cannot be consummated in the ugly day of light and has to take to dreams, liebestod, Tristan and Isolde.

  • Limelight tied into this, that precious bit of Chaplin beneath the big old sappy narratives that was purely evocative body, that was in essence a dance between innocence and star-crossed fate.

  • David Bowie, 'Modern Love' aptly enough, so the rush of purely energetic instrumentation, dazzling camera beats, irony, New Wave atonality, in this case the song randomly caught on radio and meant to guide feelings, a dadaist gesture. Denis Lavant leaps across the frame with his wiry seething-petite frame that reminds a bit of the old silent comedians, he's a real pleasure to watch just move.

In something like Beau Travail also with Lavant and operatic, space is arranged bodily, the whole thing is cinematic and flows. Not so here. The guy responsible for this wants to be a little like Godard, so we have the interminable recitations, the poetry, the deliberately crude crime plot where you only need a gun and a girl, always Godard's weaker spots.

This too bad. Because there are visual moments here that left me practically giddy, for example love as a matter of leaping from a plane, a matter of joint flight and tenderly balancing mid-air.

Instead we get a patchy, stuttery ride that only now and then blossoms into some internal scenery.

The opportunity missed is that the eye dances but is not fully consumed with its musical capacity. Nouvelle Vague ruins this by proxy. I like to think that Wong Kar Wai saw this and immediately knew which parts worked.

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Switzerland | France



Release Date:

26 November 1986 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Mauvais Sang See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,482, 1 December 2013

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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