One of the highlights of this year’s MIFF for me was the Leos Carax retrospective. I loved Les Amants du Pont Neuf when it first came out here c1992, and saw it twice at the cinema, but I’d not seen it since. I’d searched for years for a copy of Mauvais Sang and saw a worn out VHS copy once only about a decade ago, so it was thrilling to finally see it on the big screen.
Both star Juliette Binoche, who is my favourite actress, and the extraordinary Denis Lavant. I’d first seen her in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and saw Les Amants du Pont Neuf because she was in it. I was already well obsessed by the time she did Three Colours Blue.
Maybe I’m being dumb as I write this but I can’t make the Youtube embedding at a specific time work, but you can watch the whole film on Youtube (unfortunately it has no English subtitles). It has borrowed somewhat from the French new wave but is also very 1980s.
Binoche’s character blows her fringe with her breath in a very cute way throughout, such as at 23 mins and 59 mins. There’s an exquisite parachuting shot at 31 mins and Lavant’s ragged dance to David Bowie’s Modern Love at 45 mins.
There’s a scene where Lavant’s character is on the Pont Neuf with a character with an eye patch that is a direct precursor to what we see in Les Amants du Pont Neuf at 1 hr 21 mins.
This is the trailer for Les Amants du Pont Neuf. Carax uses another Bowie song, Time Will Crawl, in Les Amants du Pont Neuf in a similarly ad hoc way.
The two Bowie song segments can be viewed separately. In both videos below the songs start about halfway in.