Leos Carax’s second film, from 1986, is a salute, at once moody and ebullient, to the cinema of the past and the ferocious intensity of youth. Like its predecessor, Boy Meets Girl (1984), Mauvais Sang, nominally a neo-noir set in Paris in the near future, is deeply in thrall to the masters of the Nouvelle Vague, particularly Jean-Luc Godard. But Carax’s endlessly romantic film transcends homage to capture ineffable states of being. Those outsize emotions are housed in the peewee, pliable body of Denis Lavant, the writer-director’s alter ego and one of cinema’s most kinetic actors. Lavant plays Alex, a conjuror and card sharp who teams up with gangster Marc (Michel Piccoli). All-consuming passion is ignited once Alex sees Anna (Juliette Binoche, here styled to resemble Anna Karina, Godard’s muse) on a bus, only to discover that she is Marc’s lover. She and Alex share a stunning, wordless moment, tethered together during a parachute jump (performed without stunt doubles). As we watch them float somewhere above the countryside outside Paris, this lavish spectacle becomes the perfect expression of the enormity of Alex’s infatuation—and of Carax’s singularly expansive, breathtaking cinema.

Let’s just say that Mauvais Sang is a total amazement. To speak of this film, we have to give meaning to words that have been a little bit tarnished, or mostly weakened: poetry, inspiration, dazzling shots, in a word: emotion.
Cahiers du Cinéma

Leos Carax

Leos Carax

Jean Yves Escoffier

Alex / ”Langue pendue”: Denis Lavant
Anna: Juliette Binoche
Marc: Michel Piccoli
Lise: Julie Delpy

Official Selection – César Awards (1987)

GENRE Crime / Drama / Romance
PRODUCTION France, 1986 & 2013
RATING Unrated
FORMAT(S) DCP, Blu-ray

Carlotta Films US

$350 to $500, pending format.

*Fees for screening rights are negotiable and may depend on: format, size of screening room, whether admission will be charged, etc. Check with each distributor and make sure to mention your participation in Tournées in your negotiation.