Friday, March 08, 2013

BOY MEETS GIRL (1984) - Leos Carax

Leos Carax's first feature, finished at the ripe young age of 24, plays like a French-American art fim hybrid, equal parts Jim Jarmusch and Jean-Luc Godard. I guess this should come as no surprise since Carax himself is a hybrid (his mother is American, his father French). The subject, as you may have guessed, is amour. Amour gone bad. Or, at least, misunderstood.

There are scenes of laconic long-take minimalism ala Strangers in Paradise (released the same year). Two guys play a wordless game of pinball, switching back and forth with each missed ball for several minutes without any cuts. Then there are the Godardian scenes. Young lovers over-intellectualizing their ennui, sharing their sordid past histories and future plans after having met the minute before...also, without any cuts. It's the best and worst of both film worlds, meditative and melancholy, alternately boring and busy, something old meets something new.

Having only seen the HD-sourced Holy Motors before this, it's worth seeing Boy Meets Girl to see Carax shooting on luminous black and white film. There are some beautiful compositions in this film, sometimes moving, though more often on sticks. It's also nice to see a relatively baby-faced Denis Lavant, who would go on to become the DeNiro to Carax's Scorsese. The guy has a look about him that makes you want to keep watching. His multiball skills might be miserable, but his basset hound mug is sound.

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