Contribution to the Urban Film Playlist - Keyworld Love:
[Les amants du Pont-Neuf, France, 1991, Director: Leos Carax] Paris, 1989. In a city celebrating the Bicentenary of the French Revolution, Alex, a homeless fire-eater addicted to alcohol and sleeping drugs, survives for better or worse with his fellow “vagrant” Hans on the closed-for-repairs Pont-Neuf (“New Bridge”), Paris’s oldest bridge. Their daily routine following the rhythms of soporific ampoules and cheap wine drastically change as they stumble across Michèle, a painter on the verge of losing sight, escaping from her own past. Alex and Michèle fall in love. On Paris’s oldest bridge. However, it is not a romantic and neat love story one would normally await that is being portrayed here. What Leos Carax rather wants to show us is the distress of the homeless and the vital need for closeness, so primal that it becomes destructive, it is the fear of remaining outside and awake at night, when the whole city sleeps behind closed doors. The bridge, then, is poetic and multiple, becoming a necessity for both main characters. For Alex, it is a constant, his home, the centre he keeps coming back to. For Michèle, it is a moment, a lapse of reason, a way to leave her own demons behind and hide, from herself perhaps. For all, it is a place of love and hope, of fear and anger, a playground and a prison. But none of them can just exit the bridge, not forever. Or at least, not from either side. In his third and often seen as his most ambitious film, Carax continues to explore his understanding of urban poetics, both terrible and beautiful, as he did in Boy Meets Girl (1984) and Mauvais Sang (1986).
Thanks to Ge Zheng for the possibility to contribute to this playlist.
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