Precious Bodily Fluids

Pola X (Leo Carax, 1999)

“Time is out of joint,” the opening states, while bombing graveyards in black and white. After this abstract, violent prologue, a remarkable crane/dolly shot takes us from outside a chateau to the upstairs window, cracked, voyeuristically giving us a peek at a sleeping character we will subsequently think is minor.

“Amour” is kissing someone whose face is shrouded in a sweater, partially denuded.

Incest – brother & sister, a motif that repeats and renews.

This world is abject and transgressive, a rough display of the thin boundary separating the upper class from the lowest class, mores vs. taboos, etc. He is an anonymous writer called “Aladin.” He meets his friend toward the beginning at a bar actually called “Le Privilege,” where they play a nouvelle vague-esque game of pinball, before eventually invoking Jules et Jim in more narrative ways.

The slowest scene must be the one in which the two might-be siblings walk in the dark forest as she recounts the hidden history of her exclusion from the family. No soundtrack, just diegetic noises of them walking, very little visual clarity, no editing to speak of.

Characters are dwarfed by industry and architecture, more so toward the end. The music within the industrial hotel is of the most transgressive kind, and yet it is composed and conducted by the main character’s double, in a sense. He tows the line between these worlds, unlike our protagonist.

“Where are we?” “Outside it all.”

exposure, lights, lies, secrets

Slow-motion dream sequence, bathing in a bloody river.

This is associated with “The New French Extremity,” invoking “traditional” art cinema by its radical and disjunctive style, but more through choppiness and speed than slowness. More violent, more transgressive, more brutal, much less playful.

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This entry was published on June 9, 2014 at 2:40 pm. It’s filed under 1990s Cinema, French Film, Photoessays and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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