Leos Carax

Authors: Fergus Daly and Garin Dowd

Leos Carax's early career was in two complementary ways conducted under the scrutiny of the French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma. In his 1999 television interview with Pierre-André Boutang, Carax touches on many of the qualities of a still developing personal mythology. Carax's first finished film, Strangulation Blues is in the director's own words the student film he never made. The 'autistic' part of 'autistebavarde' as this persona populates the films of Carax must be differentiated from this metaphorical usage. The typology developed by Carax contributes to the characters' withdrawal from verisimilitude; they are presented to us less as formed, reified types, or exemplars than as 'supple individuals'. This book performs a minute dissection of the heterogeneous elements shaped by Leos Carax into works of great complexity and élan in order to isolate the true singularity and originality of his 1980s films, Boy Meets Girl and Mauvais Sang. The haste with which Carax's overbudget film of 1990, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf has been categorised and in certain quarters thereby dismissed, combined with the spectacular budget catastrophe and the myths developed around the on-set events, contributed to a widespread misunderstanding of the film, as well as to a certain blindness among critics as to the merits. The title of Leos Carax's Pola X was an acronym of the title in French of Herman Melville's novel of 1852, Pierre, or The Ambiguities, that is, Pierre, ou les ambiguïtés.

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