Director’s Chair Introduction: Leos Carax

by Tony Cogan · August 9, 2021 · Director's Chair, Uncategorized · No Comments

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Deadline: 5th September 2021

Hello everyone, it’s time to announce who the featured director for August on Director’s Chair will be and this month the focus is on Leos Carax.

Carax got his start working on shorts and doing work as a film critic before moving into feature films with Boy Meets Girl. The film helped to establish the partnerships Carax has with collaborators actor Denis Lavant and DP Jean-Yves Escoffier and helped to establish his reputation for a mature visual style.

He followed this up with Mauvais Sang, which, upon release, was put forward for the Golden Lion at the Berlin Film Festival and was nominated for 3 Caesar Awards, including Best Actress for Juliette Binoche, Most Promising Actress for Julie Delpy and Best Cinematography. Carax’s next film came 5 years later with Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. Given that Carax was filming on a public bridge there were a lot of logistical and financial difficulties Carax had, especially given that Carax had to create a replica of the bridge for use outside of the time he was permitted in public. The film ended up being the 34th highest earning film in France for 1991 and was Carax’s most successful film at the time.

The success of Les Amants du Pont-Neuf allowed Carax to be more experimental with his next film Pola X, an adaptation of Herman Melville’s Pierre: Or the Ambiguities. After this, Carax did music videos for Carla Bruni and New Order, along with directing a segment of the film Tokyo. During this time, Carax tried to get funding together for his English language debit, but was ultimately unsuccessful, given the long period of time since his last feature film. Carax decided to make a smaller scale film in France first, taking inspiration from seeing stretch limos used for weddings, using a similar structure and bringing back the character he created for Tokyo and reuniting with Denis Lavant (without whom Carax wouldn’t have made the film), ultimately making Holy Motors. Upon release the film was critically acclaimed, placing at number 4 in Sight and Sound’s best films of 2012 list and being placed number 16 in the BBC’s poll of the best films of the 21st Century (up to 2016).

After Holy Motors, Carax had another fairly long break between films, during which period he became acquainted with Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks at the Cannes Film Festival. The Mael’s ended up presenting Carax with a concept album they were working on, which Carax decided to make into his English language debut, Annette. The film ended up being delayed multiple times, mainly due to schedule conflicts star Adam Driver had with filming the Star Wars sequels trilogy. The film premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, where Carax won Best Director and the film has had mostly positive reviews since its release.

As a reminder, the films of Carax’s that you can cover are listed below.

  • Boy Meets Girl
  • Mauvais Sang
  • Les Amants du Pont-Neuf
  • Pola X
  • Tokyo
  • Holy Motors
  • Annette

I look forward to reading what you send me.