BOY MEETS GIRL (Leos Carax, 1984)
209 West Houston St.
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 in a new restoration August 8-14 at Film Forum and will be followed August 15-21 by Tessa Louise-Salomé’s 2014 documentary, Mr. X: A Vision of Leos Carax, along with Carax’s other feature films, Pola X, Les Amants du Pont Neuf, Mauvais Sang, and Holy Motors.