Pola X

Pola X


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Leos Carax used to be the enfant terrible of French cinema. Eight years ago, he spent a fortune making Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf, with his former girlfriend, Juliette Binoche. It was considered overblown and underwhelming. Now, Pola X, his comeback movie, has all the pretensions of those alternative films of the Sixties, in which pale, silent heroines and tortured young men waste their lives, writing incomprehensible poetry and smoking too much.

Pierre (Guillaume Depardieu) lives with his mother (Catherine Deneuve) - or is she his sister ("You're handsome today, my brother," she tells him)? - in a glorious French chateau. Already, he has written a novel under a pseudonym that has become a cult hit amongst the young. He jumps on his dead dad's motor bike and rides to another chateau where his fiancee, Lucie (Delphine Chuillot), sleeps late. He climbs into bed with her.

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One day, after having dreams about a wild girl with long black hair, he meets Isabelle (Katerina Golubeva) in a wood at night and they go for a walk and she tells him that she is the sister he didn't know about. She is obviously loopy, but he doesn't notice. She has long black hair and talks funny. That's good enough for him. He leaves his future bride, runs off to Paris and lives with Isabelle in a ruined warehouse, writing a tortured, agonised novel that no one wants to read.

The screaming boredom of Pierre's existence is not helped by Depardieu Jr's performance. He has none of his father's sex appeal and is awkward in his movements. Deneuve is decor. The mother/sister relationship with Pierre has incestuous (yawn) overtones. Golubeva wanders about in a trance, like a tripping hippie at a Hammer Horror audition. After two-and-a-half hours of this, you worry about your own sanity.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Pola X packshot
A man leaves his fiancee after a strange young woman appears, claiming to be his sister.
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Director: Leos Carax

Writer: Leos Carax, Lauren Sedofsky, JeanPol Fargeau, based on Pierre Or The Ambiguities by Herman Melville

Starring: Guillaume Depardieu, Katerina Golubeva, Catherine Deneuve, Delphine Chuillot

Year: 1999

Runtime: 134 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: France/Germany/Switzerland


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