tue 04/08/2020

DVD: Boy Meets Girl; Mauvais Sang | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Boy Meets Girl; Mauvais Sang

DVD: Boy Meets Girl; Mauvais Sang

These two beguiling French tragedies hold a timeless beauty

Choreographed kisses, meandering stories in 'Boy Meets Girl'

Much has been said before about these two Leos Carax greats, but the beauty of these surrealist French films is that you can enjoy them again and again, each time finding something new to appreciate. It's been a while since Boy Meets Girl and Mauvais Sang (The Night Is Young) were first released, but that only makes them that little bit more iconic.

Like blowing the dust off an old painting, we are re-introduced to the blanched faces and melancholic characters that remind us of a love that burns fast but lasts forever. With Carax, everyone is either in love, skirting the fringes of suicide or possibly a killer. 
You’re either involved or a voyeur.

Denis Lavant in Boy Meets GirlBoy Meets Girl is like the fragments of a forgotten dream – the days of francs, pinball machines and metro stubs. It is the classic French tragedy, with couples speaking to one another in poetry and monologues that don't get heard. Black and white scenes play out in subdued isolation. In the still air and terrible heat of a Parisian summer we see the choreographed kisses and meandering stories of Denis Lavant and Mireille Perrier, a film maker and suicidal young woman both in the throes of failed romance and cheating best friends – their flawed characters and interruptive back stories told through phones that are picked up without ringing and letters in drawers, performed in front of surveillance cameras.

What they have in common with Carax’s characters in Mauvais Sang is that their dramas unfold like a memory of the present. Despite their struggles and inner turmoil they are inscrutable, self-indulgently misunderstood and self-reflective, their soliloquies insinuating that it’s good to talk, but even better to be heard. Another couple (this time Lavant and a young, radiant Juliette Binoche) are also searching for love to be their inspiration, their raison d'être. There is a more complex plot involving the mob and the theft of a virus-cure serum to treat an STD sweeping the country.

Denis Lavant and Juliette Binoche in Mauvais Sang (The Night Is Young)Dramatic and stunningly photographic scenes include a heart stopping parachute moment, a farcical male brawl between old men who flick kicks and reconcile, and Binoche’s final runway escape. Lavant is at his early best, veering wildly between beating himself in the stomach or cartwheeling – all the while, puffing furiously on cigarettes as his time runs out, just like the fast burning butt in the ash tray.

The DVD extras contain more delights for avid fans – a charming introduction with Lavant and a featurette called On Set In The Kitchen for Boy Meets Girl, and silent outtakes and deleted scenes for Mauvais Sang – all of which will help you rediscover the timeless enjoyment of Carax, and these classic French films.

It is the classic French tragedy, with couples speaking to one another in poetry and monologues that don't get heard


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters