BAD BLOOD; THE NIGHT IS YOUNG
For all its central aimlessness and lack of focus, Mauvais Sang is a film where everybody is clearly having a ball. Leos Carax successfully avoids the pretensions that beset most of his countrymen and produces a film that bursts with its own vitality. Some of the scenes, like the image of Denis Lavant dancing through the streets to David Bowies Modern Love (1983), or his little impressions and ventriloquists tricks to try and cheer Juliette Binoche up, run with an unadulterated joy. Some of Caraxs camera set-ups are irritatingly obtrusive he has a fondness for closeups from behind peoples heads but other scenes the long lyrical scene with Denis Lavantparachuting with the unconscious Juliette Binoche in his arms, or of he peculiarly affectionately carrying her across a street; and the bizarre image of a fight with both opponents squashed out-of-shape up against a full-length window are inventive.
Denis Lavant plays with a rough-faced independence but it is the women who come off best, especially melancholy, disaffected waif Juliette Binoche, who is capable of lighting up the entire screen with one of her infrequent smiles, and Julie Delpy as Piccolis wild, striking girlfriend. It does wind down a little at the end, with a very silly hostage scene that plays exactly like a serious version of the one in Blazing Saddles (1974), as though Carax had no idea how to end the film.
The film showed Leos Carax as one of the most promising new talents to emerge from the continent in the last decade. Carax later went onto the acclaimed romantic film Amants du Pont-Neuf/The Lovers on the Bridge (1991), also featuring Bioche and Denis Lavant, Pola X (1999) and the arthouse hit of the surrealist Holy Motors (2012).