CinémaTuesdays: BOY MEETS GIRL (Leos Carax, 1984)
French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
Tuesday, February 12, $10, 12:30, 4:00, 7:00
French auteur Leos Carax learned a lot about making movies during his stint as a critic for Cahiers du cinéma, the magazine that came to represent the Nouvelle Vague movement of the 1950s. Born Alexandre Oscar Dupont in a Paris suburb in 1960, Carax released his first feature-length film in 1984, Boy Meets Girl, a black-and-white homage to the legacy of Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Claude Chabrol as well as King Vidor, Buster Keaton, and Ingmar Bergman. Yet despite its obvious influences, Boy Meets Girl triumphs as a uniquely told tale of a strange young man named Alex (Carax’s onscreen alter ego, Denis Lavant) and his oddball adventures in search of love and truth. Dumped by Florence (Anna Baldaccini), he fakes his way into a party, where he finds Mireille (Mireille Perrier), a suicidal model who is intrigued by him. Carax, who would go on to make such well-received films as Mauvais Sang, Pola X, and Holy Motors, fills Boy Meets Girl with wonderful little touches, beautifully photographed in long takes by Jean-Yves Escoffier, from a repeating black-and-white clothing pattern and a battle with a pinball machine to a sudden burst of tap-dancing and a mysterious meeting along the Seine. Alex is a warped version of Jean-Pierre Léaud’s Antoine Doinel, but even though Alex as a lead character is no match for Truffaut’s seminal figure in the history of twentieth-century cinema, it’s still impossible to take your eyes off him as he continues to do and say a a whole lot of very weird and unpredictable things. Boy Meets Girl is screening on February 12 at Florence Gould Hall as part of the French Institute Alliance Française CinémaTuesdays series “When Boy Meets Girl: The Cinema of Leos Carax” and will be preceded by Merde, Carax’s contribution to the three-part omnibus Tokyo! (Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon-ho, 2008), in which a wild-eyed CHUD-like (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller) character (Lavant) emerges from below, wreaking havoc on the streets of Tokyo, speaking a bizarre language that only French magistrate Maitre Voland (Jean-François Balmer) can understand. The series continues on February 19 with Pola X, which stars Guillaume Depardieu, Yekaterina Golubeva, and Catherine Deneuve, and February 26 with Carax’s widely hailed latest film, Holy Motors, with the director on hand to participate in a Q&A with Richard Brody following the 7:00 show.