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A petty hustler (Denis Lavant) is rooked into a robbery scheme by a suave gangster (Michel Piccoli) and his beautiful young mistress (Juliette Binoche) in Leos Carax's offbeat, madly cinephilic thriller.
Leos Carax joins us in person for a special Q&A following the screening.
Set in a Paris plunged into a permanent heat wave by an approaching comet, Carax's controversial thriller focuses on Alex (Denis Lavant), a petty hustler and ex-con, who is pressed by a veteran gangster (Michel Piccoli, suavely malevolent in a peroxide skull cut) into committing a heist to steal the antidote to a deadly virus which is spread by "making love to those you don't love." Alex falls for the crime boss' mistress Anna (Juliette Binoche, made up to evoke Louise Brooks), who lives in a glass house. A rival gang led by a vicious American dowager (Carroll Brooks) lurks in the shadows, also intent upon securing the precious serum. Jean-Yves Escoffier outdoes his cinematography in Boy Meets Girl with a dazzling array of geometric and surrealist compositions, while Carax proves his contention that Mauvais sang is "a film that loves cinema but not the cinema of today" by filling it with images from and homages to favourite films (especially Godard's Alphaville, screening on July 11). But the film's undisputed centrepiece is Alex's acrobatic dance down a city street to David Bowie's "Modern Love," as the careening camera follows deliriously in his wild wake. "Carax's masterpiece" (Senses of Cinema); "the cult film of its generation" (Chuck Stephens, Film Comment).
- Leos Carax
- Léos Carax was born in France. He began his career as a film critic and short-film director before making his feature-length debut at age 23 with Boy Meets Girl (84), which marked the first of his collaborations with actor Denis Lavant. His other films include Mauvais Sang (86), Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (88), Pola X (99), a segment in the anthology film Tokyo! (08), and Holy Motors (12).