The Lovers on the Bridge
(Les Amants du Pont-Neuf)

Screening on Film
Directed by Leos Carax.
With Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant, Daniel Buain.
France, 1991, 35mm, color, 125 min.
French with English subtitles.

Carax capped his “Alex trilogy” with this dizzyingly romanticized valentine to l’amour fou, once again casting Juliette Binoche and Denis Lavant as the title characters, a homeless couple who set up a love nest on the bridge over the Seine. The young filmmaker received permission to film on Paris’ famous Pont-Neuf, but when that proved unfeasible, he built a replica in southern France. This combination of realism and artifice spills over to the film itself, which includes a semi-documentary sequence shot in a homeless shelter. The relationship between the lovers is by turns touching and unsettling, with Carax juxtaposing the beautiful with the sinister so as to heighten both – reminiscent of Claire Denis. This alchemy of beauty and ugliness is a key to unlocking Carax’s approach to filmmaking; it amounts more or less to a particularly cinematic worldview, one that comes to the fore in his subsequent work.

Part of film series

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Overdrive: The Films of Leos Carax

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Cinéma Français

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Contemporary French Cinema