Léos Carax

Active - 1980 - 2014  |   Born - Nov 22, 1960 in Suresnes, Hauts-de-Seine, France  |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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An unpredictable French filmmaker whose poetic style earned him a critically sound reputation on the heels of his debut feature, Boy Meets Girl (1984), Leos Carax has since gone on to explore the tortured ramifications of love in the modern world with such features as Lovers on the Bridge (1991) and the controversial Pola X. A native of Suresnes who was born to an American mother and a French father, Alexandre Oscar Dupont (his professional name an anagram of his first and middle names) directed a series of short films and dabbled in cinema criticism before putting his celluloid where his mouth is with his debut feature, Boy Meets Girl. A dramatic exploration of modern love, the film provided undeniable proof of Carax's already assured, mature visual style and proved the first teaming of the director and his cinematic alter ego, Denis Lavant. In addition, Boy Meets Girl also found Carax forming a long working relationship with renowned cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier, a partnership that would no doubt provide an indispensable contribution to the development of Carax's signature visual style. His follow-up, 1986's Bad Blood, provided a science fiction angle that at first left some audiences wondering if he had abandoned the personal issues that made Boy Meets Girl so effective, though it was soon obvious that Carax was only using the criminal angle of the story to once again explore the complexities of modern relationships. His New Wave style and use of such actresses as Juliette Binoche proved a warm and telling tribute to such major influences as Jean-Luc Godard.

It was five long years before Carax would return to the screen with Lovers on the Bridge, and expensive production delays forced the cinematic perfectionist who had previously received permission to shoot on the actual Pont-Neuf bridge to reconstruct the entire bridge on a lake in Southern France. Despite rumors that the construction nearly bankrupt three producers, the enthusiastic critical reception to the offbeat tale of love among the down and out ensured Carax's continuing reputation as a filmmaker of remarkable vision would continue to flourish. An even longer period separated Lovers on the Bridge and Carax's fourth feature, Pola X, and by the time the film was released in 1999, longtime fans were more than eager to see what the director had been cooking up in the 1990s. A controversial adaptation of a Herman Melville's tale of incest, Carax's use of hardcore pornography in Pola X isolated many viewers with others commenting that, sexuality aside, the movie was simply a bore. Though it would spark the most heated debated to date among Carax fans, Pola X would ultimately be regarded as a failed experiment on the part of the director.

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  • His mother is American and his father French.
  • Awarded the Alfred Bauer Award for Mauvais Sang at the 1987 Berlin International Film Festival.
  • Won the Austin Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012 for Holy Motors.
  • Won the Award for the Youth at the 1984 and 2012 Cannes Film festival for Boy Meets Girl and Holy Motors respectively.