Mauvais Sang

by Jake Mulligan

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday November 23, 2014

About halfway through "Mauvais Sang," Leos Carax's sci-fi epic about a future where people who have sex without love are doomed to die, Denis Levant's character Alex turns on the radio. His ladyfriend is lying, waiting for him, across the room, when David Bowie's "Modern Love" comes on. Alex runs - sprints, really - with the beat, out into the streets. Carax's camera follows him rapidly: The reds and blacks of buildings passed by become an abstract blur. This isn't even storytelling, it's poetry. Carax's is the rare cinema to take its influence not from the world, but from the endless depths of imagination.

You need your own imagination to follow the narrative Carax lays out here. Alex and his mob boss (Michel Piccoli) are out to snare an expensive serum as their next job, but Carax spends most of his time documenting Godard-influenced scenes between Alex and his new girlfriend (Juliette Binoche) lounging about a bedroom. And when we do get to the heist, Carax heightens that into abstraction, too. We don't ever comprehend the plan - instead, his camera focuses on, maybe even fetishizing, the geometric patterns of the plot, like a spider's web created by a laser security system. This movie's one hell of a light show.

For proof of the inimitability of Carax's style, one need only look at the primary special feature included on the disc - a documentary entitled "Mr. X." (For the record, a deleted scene and trailers are also included.) There are plenty of valuable tidbits here for fans, no doubt, but the piece is constructed of talking head interviews and excerpts of the films - exactly the kind of standard issue approach Carax's films have always rejected. Even a film about Leos Carax can't replicate the magic inherent in the work of Leos Carax - the magic of films like "Mauvais Sang."

"Mauvais Sang"


Related Story

Holy Motors

Read More »