Lovers on the Bridge (1992)

(Les Amants du Pont-Neuf)

With "Lovers on the Bridge," the gifted French director Leos Carax again shows his ability to mix different themes and visual styles in exciting, even exhilarating ways.
 
The film achieved notoriety due to its big budget, due to the fact that Carax recreated impeccably the famed Pont-Neuf bridge, Paris' oldest bridge, where most of the action is set.
 
I saw the film at the 1992 Toronto Film Festival, where it began to develop a cult following, though it didn't receive theatrical distribution by Miramax until the late 1990s, due to the interventio of Martin Scorsese, who's a fan.
 
Denis Lavant portrays Alex, a 28-year-old drug-addict, fire-eating homeless guy, who lives by his wits on the deserted bridge, which is in the process of being restored for the French Revolution Bicentennial Celebration.
 
When Michele (played by the young Juliette Binoche), a girl from the upper-class, stumbles into his life, a desperate yet passionate relationship begins, with the couple living a bittersweet vagabond existence. Michele is an artist who is losing her eyesight due to a bizarre degenerative disease.
 
Mixing documentary style, poetic realism, and surrealism, "Lovers on the Bridge" is amour fou (mad love) par excellence. It's consiidered to be the third panel of a loose trilogy that began with "Boy Meets Girl," in 1982, and "Bad Blood" ("Mauvais Sang") in 1986.
 
Though the movie has been praised for its stylistic pyrotechnics, it's also intriguing thematically, dealing with such timely issues as drifting and homelessness, love, madness and isolation.
 
One of France's most talented and eccentric directors, Carax is half-Frenhc, half-American artist, who began making short films in 1978 with "La Fille Revee." Prior to that, he wrote some film criticism and acted in films by Godard, Pocard, and Garrel.