The revelation of the 1984 Cannes festival was this first feature by 23-year-old Leos Carax. In its fervor, film sense, cutting humor, and strong autobiographical slant, it suggests the first films of the French New Wave (there's something in the arrogant iconoclasm that specifically recalls Godard), yet this isn't a derivative film. Carax demonstrates a very personal, subtly disorienting sense of space in his captivating black-and-white images, and the sound track has been constructed with an equally dense expressivity. The hero is a surly young outsider who has just been abandoned by his girlfriend; as he moves through a nocturnal Paris, his adolescent disillusionment is amplified into a cosmic cry of pain. The subject invites charges of narcissism and immaturity, but Carax's formal control and distance keep the confessional element in a state of constant critical tension. With Denis Lavant and Mireille Perrier.
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