8/26/2012

Les Amants du pont neuf


Pont neuf bridge, Paris. Alex (Denis Lavant), young, troubled and homeless, returns to his patch and home, under the Pont neuf after a short stint in a homeless shelter. Instead of hard Parisian concrete and rain, he finds Michéle (Juliette Binoche), a beautiful but distraught young woman seeking isolation after running away from home and the likely onslaught of a blinding, incurable eye disease. Alex basks in the company of a new down-and-outer and the trouble-laden pair quickly gel. A whirlwind romance quickly ensues, fuelled by passion and obsession. When Michele’s family find out her disease can be cured, they face the hardest task of all: convincing Alex to let her go.
Originally conceived for super 8 format, with a much simpler crew, the finished article, revered both visually and thematically, was infamously over-budget; Denis Lavant broke his thumb and was unable to continue; Carax’s filming permit expired with just a few minutes captured and so, at vast expense, a replica bridge in the South of France was built. Despite the budget spiralling out of control, Leos Carax delicately reigns in a poignant, visceral tale of Paris’ oldest bridge, eliciting colourful and memorable performances from the film’s main stars: Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant and the Pont neuf bridge.

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