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The Lovers on the Bridge (Version française) [Import]

Juliette Binoche , Denis Lavant , Leos Carax    R (Restricted)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 57.01
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How can a movie be so ludicrous and so ecstatic at the same time? The Lovers on the Bridge stars Juliette Binoche as a street person (there, in a nutshell, is the ludicrous part) who was formerly an artist, but began to go blind and whose life fell apart as a result. She hooks up with a homeless street performer (Denis Lavant) who lives on a bridge in the middle of Paris that has been cordoned off for repairs. He falls madly in love with her; she can't bear the thought of being close to anyone. Both are more than a little irrational. But this banal scenario is merely the pretext for a series of lush and stunning images--including midnight water-skiing, fireworks displays, wandering through falling snow, burning posters in subway tunnels--and richly committed performances from the actors. It's not quite as overwhelming on video as it is on a movie screen, but there's such a gushing of emotional images that it's hard to resist the angst and yearning passion. Though the film dives into some cliches, it manages to avoid others; when Binoche's wealthy family starts looking for her, a frightened Lavant tries to keep her hidden away, and you really don't know whether their relationship can possibly survive. An unusual and sweeping film--and an example of the power of visual images to create a state of rapture. --Bret Fetzer

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5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful April 23 2004
this movie is a complex love story with stunning visuals. there are a few scenes that really breathe scorcese, but most of the film feels very fresh and unlike anything else i've ever seen. the energy that this film possesses is breathtaking. definitely worth watching.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Times 2 = 10 stars Jan. 28 2004
One of the most beautiful films ever made. Clear proof that Juliette Binoche is one of the (if not the) greatest actresses of the age. Lacking, perhaps, in subtext or moral complexity - absences which would ordinarily prevent me from branding a film a great work of art, the extraordinary beauty (which I confess brought me to tears during the fireworks sequence,) the brilliant acting, the homages (especially to L'Atlante,) the inexorable progression from despair to hope all lead me to the conclusion that this is one of the greatest films ever made.
I was fortunate enough to see this first in a theatre (the Walter Reed at Lincoln Center) so the full impact of the beauty of the film came through better than would be possible on a home system. However, I bought the DVD from Amazon UK several years ago and it is well worth owning.
Following Boy Meets Girl (very good) and Mauvais Sang (wonderful,) the followup to Lovers on the Bridge which was Pola X was staggeringly disappointing and undiciplined. Worth owning largely for Scott Walker's brilliant soundtrack I could only look at it aghast and wonder what happened.
There is nothing even scheduled by Carax in the new "improved"(?) Amazonified imdb. We can only hope that he returns with something even approaching having the sense of wonder and intensity of this masterpiece.
Not just worth owning, but utterly mandatory.
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5.0 out of 5 stars carax at his finest July 24 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
this movie may come off as a simple love story, but let's face it, it's not. like most anything done by carax, it's more about film, and its semiological consequences, than anything else. this film, number three by carax, shows a strong truffaut influence, e.g. tirez sur le pianiste. though not as experimental as pola x, and not as indebted to godard as boy meets girl, there are clear tributes to vigo throughout. self-conscious, highly symbolic, intertextual. carax may be the finest director of his generation. just consider his very human treatment of lavant's character, for example. only truffaut, or maybe bresson, compares to that kind of characterization, though surely an ironic "realism" given the context of this film. all in all, this is a great achievement.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A film that puts a face on the homeless Aug. 4 2000
By J. lopez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Lovers on the Bridge is an intensely disturbing but ultimately life affirming film about a young woman artist named Michele,who after being jilted by her Lover decides to take to the street and live as a vagabond.She eventually takes up residence,with her cat Louisiana,on a bridge in Paris over the Seine river that's closed for repairs.She meets a young homeless man named Alex who has been on the street,the bridge in particular,much longer than Michele.He's lonely and he falls for her instantly.She's terrified of intimacy after what happened with her former Lover.To complicate matters,she has a rare eye disease that is destroying her eyesight.Binoche is totally convincing in her role.She conveys intelligence and an ethereal quality,you wonder how she could have come into this situation.It's easily an Oscar caliber performance.You wonder if she actually did live on the street during production.Denis Lavant as Alex,an insecure,shy,but ever hopeful street performer is just as effective as Binoche.You can feel his pain and frustration just by watching the expressions on his face.In spite of the situation he's in,he still inspires hope.The Director takes great care with the subject matter.He handles the issue of homelessness with compassion,respect,and affection.He wisely remains objective and allows the viewer to simply watch Michele and Alex's relationship develop.He never attempts to get you to pity or feel sorry for them.My only complaint with the story is that we never learn enough about Alex's past.How he reached this point and why.Filled with lush cinematography(the streets of Paris,the Seine river,some classic art work),an honest portrayal of the homeless,terrific performances by a talented cast,and some mesmerizing visuals(a fireworks display,water skiing on the Seine,Alex as a human flamethrower),Lovers on the Bridge is a film well worth your time.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scent of Heartbreak March 20 2005
By David S. Jenkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Proof positive that the French function on an entirely different intellectual plane that their American counterparts. It's sometimes hard to believe that our two cultures inhabit the same planet. Imagine if your only island of sanity and security was an endangered bridge in the midst of one of the world's most exquisite cities. Imagine yourself without love or hope in the center of the most romantic of capitals. Imagine the moist chill as you awaken, hung over, under a sheet of plastic and litter, knowing your day holds nothing but the need to beg and steal to survive, devoid of any hope for salvation. And then imagine it all somehow turning towards a warmer sun... at least for the moment... after a crime you may or may not have committed. Think and feel what that moment would taste like. Binoche is captivating, riveting in a performance of courage and risk, an extraordinary actress by any measure. Paris has never seemed more beautiful, especially when devoid of human traffic in the hours where those from the other side of life wander its streets. An incredible film, and for anyone who has known heartbreak, a work that will imprint itself on your heart.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern Fairytale July 1 2000
By "diarmuidohanlon" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
After Leos Carax's 1986 film Mauvais Sang (come on Miramax release it!) Juliette Binoche begged her then lover and director to never film her as a madonna again, and so the seeds for Les Amants du Pont Neuf were sown. Mauvais Sang features a luminous and fetishised Juliette Binoche as a mask like presence, with no physicallity. This was carried thorough to the wonderful The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but Carax exploded the image in his film. The story is simple, two down and outs meet fall in love, yet despite the harsh realities of life, and love, on the streets they live out an exciting and romantic (in all the senses of the word) existance. This movie is relevant for its amazing visual and tour de force performances. Binoche is simply standout, she seems to live the role, something she later admitted deeply disturbed her. The film is fabulously directed from the grainy opening sequence to the amazing fireworks scene and the exilirating conclusion. The film is littered with cinematic allusions from truffauts Les Quatre cents Coups, to L'Atlante. In terms of context the film is amazing because it juxtaposes harsh realities, the opening sequence and fairytale like fantasy. We are led to question what is actually real, from Binoche apparerntly committing murder to the street littered with gigantic litter. In the end Les Amants du Pont Neuf is a film which needs multiple viewing and some explaining or knowledge of French New Wave cinema to be wholly comprehended, yet it is cwertainly accessible for the majority of casual cinema goers! The film, as I always predicted, is only now beginning to get the recognition it trully deserves. Binoche has avoided this type of movie since, although Michael Hanekes wonderful Code Unknown, though on a smaller and more subjued canvas, has many similarities. Roll on the US release of that one too. And Miramax, its about time you beagan releaseing this type of movie on DVD, youre beginning to lag behind the other companies such as Fox Lorber and Criterion!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Broken bridges... Sept. 11 2012
By Andrew Ellington - Published on Amazon.com
I walked into this film blind. I just saw the title and the actors (named Binoche) and remembered my complete obsession over another French bridge movie (The Girl on the Bridge, from 2000) and just felt this rush of excitement as I sat down to watch this movie. The funny thing is that this movie is absolutely NOTHING like I expected it to be and yet it was everything I could have ever wanted. First of all, this is not a sweeping romantic film. It isn't pretty, in the typical sense (although the cinematography is lush and brilliantly used). Instead, this is a rather densely broken tale about unexpected lovers who build a life on a bridge under construction.

Upon the film's opening we see Alex, a homeless street performer, collapse in a drunken stupor and get practically run over. In the same breath, we see Michelle walking through the streets carrying a portfolio of her artwork. Next thing you know, they are sharing a bridge and concealing secrets and falling in love. Michelle is suffering from a severe disease that is corroding her eyesight and has obviously wreaked havoc on her life (since it becomes rather obvious early on that she at one time was wealthy) and so now she is living a life of destitution. Michelle is distant and reserved and obviously shielding herself from affections, but Alex thrusts himself into her life and starts to (rather aggressively) build a relationship with her. They complement one another and draw each other out in ways that others could not.

But love is never easy, especially if you're homeless.

Binoche and Lavant build very complex characters and develop them thoroughly throughout the film, even without letting us know their pasts entirely (there is still much mystery left to Michelle's past, even at the film's closing). We feel as though we know them inside and out, and that is a feat in itself. Really though, this is Leos Carax's story and his film and he carries it marvelously. The film is visually enriched by sharp cinematography and an understanding of the importance of emotional conveyance through imagery.

This is a love affair that is far removed from what we are used to. It isn't glamorous or lavish and yet it feels all the more earnest and sincere. When the film ends, you will most definitely be moved!
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crazed and self-destructive. Aug. 31 2006
By Angry Mofo - Published on Amazon.com
"Lovers On The Bridge" is notorious, but not very popular. It caused a big scandal in France, not because of its content, but because of the caprices of its director Leos Carax. Much of the film takes place on the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, and Carax demanded to be allowed to film right on the bridge. So, the bridge was closed off just for him, and even then he couldn't finish filming. After he was kicked out, he built a life-size model of the bridge and part of its surroundings, somewhere in the countryside, and tried to finish filming there. Even then he went over budget three times, thus causing three separate producers to go bankrupt.

The film was a complete failure, commercially. Critics thought it was too long and too self-important. The public just didn't bother to see it. As a result, Carax's career was basically over by 1992. Since then he's only made one film, "Pola X" in 1999. (There's word that he's making another one right now, though.)

What is "Lovers On The Bridge" about? It stars Carax's favourite actor Denis Lavant as Alex, a bum who lives on the Pont-Neuf. Sometimes he puts on a fire-eating act to entertain passersby on the street. The rest of the time, he gets drunk. He's also addicted to pills of some kind.

One day, a woman shows up on the bridge. She doesn't talk about her past, but Alex finds out that she comes from a rich family. She was abandoned by her rich boyfriend, and she has a problem with her eyesight which will eventually make her blind. Because of these problems, she decides to run away from home and go slumming on the Pont-Neuf.

Naturally, Alex falls madly in love with her. They cavort on the bridge together and steal money from rich tourists. Then of course they're separated. Alex does a whole bunch of desperate and stupid things and loses his will to live. Maybe you can guess whether or not they're reunited in the end.

Carax's underlying worldview in this film is exactly the same as in his two earlier films, "Boy Meets Girl" and "Bad Blood." He believes in a thing called love, you see. But his idea of love has a lot of narcissism in it. His lovers are hopelessly self-absorbed. They can never have any kind of normal life together, simply because they would be unable to support each other. They can get drunk together, but they can't feel so much compassion or empathy. Alex, in particular, is a psychopath. He tries to prevent the woman from curing her eye problem, because he doesn't want her to leave the bridge.

And Carax also believes that the sensory impact of a film is more important than the logic of its narrative. So, this film contains many vivid, visually brilliant scenes that don't make much sense if you think about them. For example, Carax thinks that guns are romantic, so he puts a gun into the film and uses it in a long dream sequence. The sequence doesn't have much bearing on the plot, and actually it makes his heroine look cold and vicious, but it's exciting to watch.

The greatest scene of this sort is the one where the lovers celebrate Bastille Day by screaming and doing cartwheels on the bridge, to a deafening medley of classical, rock and rap music. The content of the scene has no meaning. But the effect is ecstatic. And in a way, it really captures a youthful feeling of falling in love.

If Carax's worldview doesn't appeal to you, then you'll probably agree with the critics who savaged the film. They have a point. But still, "Lovers On The Bridge" is Carax's best film.

First of all, he has a much stronger script than before. His two earlier films are full of long, artificial monologues, which are recited into space by the characters. But here, the dialogue is much more terse. Alex doesn't say much at all, and this is very appropriate to his character.

Second, Carax paid attention to the setting of his story. The plot might not be very believable. Of course that's the point. Carax wants to overwhelm the emotions by any means necessary. But nonetheless, the opening of the film just shows a few scenes taken at a homeless shelter in Paris. They are unrelated to the plot, and the main characters don't appear in them. But they make a very strong impression. Carax shows the bad conditions in which his characters live, without making anything up. Somehow, this realistic introduction makes the rest of the film much more convincing.

Third, the romance is just a little bit more subtle than in Carax's earlier films. In "Bad Blood," for instance, it was hard to see why Julie Delpy loved Denis Lavant so much, since his character there was basically the same as here. But here, Carax implies that the heroine isn't quite in love with Alex. Or rather, she is, but only up to a point. She loves him while she's slumming on the bridge, but she doesn't want to take him with her when she leaves. She shows no concern for him when he suffers the most from her absence. She does remember him later, but she only wants to see him on her own terms. In other words, she's like him. That's not very nice, and in fact the main characters of this film are not nice people, but it's believable at least. It's also hard to see why she went down to the bridge in the first place, if she's like that, but that's not really the point. Carax needs the bridge because it allows him to make his grand spectacles.

I honestly don't know if I'd recommend this film. It's alternately unpleasant and thrilling. But it is Carax's best film. There's nothing else that's quite like that.
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