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TitleLovers of Pont-Neuf, The (1991)
Alternative/Original TitleLes Amants du Pont-Neuf
DisabilityBlind Limb Alcoholism
DirectorLeos Carax
CastJuliette Binoche Denis Lavant
NotesFirst we see a young man (Alex) staggering down the street at night. He falls and one ankle is run over by a car. His ankle is broken and he limps from then on. After staying in a hostel for the homeless while recovering Alex returns to his stone bench on the Pont Neuf bridge where he lives. The bridge is closed for repairs and his only companion is an old man who worked as caretaker in a museum. Each night he gives the young man a phial of something to help him sleep. But when a young woman (Michele) who is going slowly blind turns up she and Alex use the phials to make people sleepy and rob them. A romance develops between them which appears initially more from need than love. At first the old man is hostile but later he takes her to an art gallery after closing hours where he was caretaker. When she returns next morning the jealous Alex hits her. He's mutilated himself with broken bottle. The old man kills himself by falling into the river. In the metro Alex finds posters with Michele's face on them. These posters are trying to alert Michele to the news that an operation could save her sight. After destroying the first poster Alex discovers a whole walkway covered with them. He sets them all alight. And when he comes upon a man putting up the posters he sets light to the back of the van accidentally killing the driver. Just when he thinks he has succeeded she hears about herself on the radio. After drinking together and falling asleep she sneaks off writing on the wall "Alex, I never loved you, not really. Forget me, Michele." Alex shoots off his finger and then is arrested by the police for the death of the driver. Sentenced for manslaughter he gets 3 years. Michele visits him once in prison and they promise to meet on the now renovated bridge when he comes out. They meet but he throws them both off the bridge. They are pulled out by a barge and decide to stay on it presumably to find a better life. It's a pity that this is not a great film. The ingredients are there but the director goes for 'sound and light'. That is an emphasis on the visual and snappy bits of dialogue melded into a grand design. Too often you can see the intellectual statement rather than the character. A pity these are two of France's premier actors.

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