Quelques critiques en anglais glanées sur la toile

Review by Stephen J Brennan taken from EUFS Programme 1997-98

Boy Meets Girl features Carax in his first outing with long time collaborator Denis Lavant (also seen in Mauvais Sang and Les Amants du Pont Neuf).
The film begins with a young man (Lavant), just split up with his lover and about to leave as a conscript the following day, wandering the cold, lonely streets of Paris. The film is viewed as a cool neo-expressionist thriller (shot in black-and-white) and features some of the most stunning night scenes of Paris or of any other city. Carax shows himself a master of the camera, providing a display of visual design and rhythm directors three times his age would have died for (Carax was 22 years old when he made this film!).
Lavant, drifting round Paris, gatecrashes a party and meets an ageing actress, who is also running from an old love. The two (almost) connect at the party in a stark and revealing dialogue about the angst of the young and not so young.
The film is visually reminiscent of the early French new wave in the 1960s; its beautiful, evocative black and white scenery coexists with the energy and jumping camera work of the nouvelle vague. However, instead of seeming retrospective, Carax uses the imagery, scenes and settings to show a level of alienation and modernist abstraction made popular by authors such as William Gibson many years later.
Indeed, the profound darkness and minimalism of the scenery (reminiscent in some ways to cheeky old rascal, Ingmar Bergman) gives the characters an almost limitless bottom line of emotional depth as they discuss their troubles.
Beautiful to watch and a good taster of raw Carax (which would later bloom into his more highly acclaimed set pieces, Mauvais Song and Les Amants...) Boy meets Girl posesses an added vibrancy and rough edge one could say is lacking in his later films. Definitely well recommended.

Capsule by Dave Kehr, from the Chicago Reader

The revelation of the 1984 Cannes festival was this first feature by 23-year-old Leos Carax. In its fervor, film sense, cutting humor, and strong autobiographical slant, it suggests the first films of the French New Wave (there's something in the arrogant iconoclasm that specifically recalls Godard), yet this isn't a derivative film. Carax demonstrates a very personal, subtly disorienting sense of space in his captivating black-and-white images, and the sound track has been constructed with an equally dense expressivity. The hero is a surly young outsider who has just been abandoned by his girlfriend; as he moves through a nocturnal Paris, his adolescent disillusionment is amplified into a cosmic cry of pain. The subject invites charges of narcissism and immaturity, but Carax' formal control and distance keep the confessional element in a state of constant critical tension. With Denis Lavant and Mireille Perrier.

Carax's first feature was both hailed and criticised for joining Beneix's DIVA and Besson's SUBWAY in creating the 'cinema du look' - giving priority to sound, vision and style over language. But the film stands out for its use of music (including Bowie, Gainsbourg and the Dead Kennedys) as a tool to deliver and distract from the simple plot which the title accurately describes.
After breaking up with Florence, the rootless Alex (Lavant), obsessed with a need for romantic fulfillment, falls in love with Mireille (Perrier) and contrives to meet her at a party. Shot in stunning black and white in nocturnal Paris, Carax introduces us to strange, brooding characters and doomed lovers, themes and personalities which he returns to in his later films Mauvais Sang and Les Amants du Pont Neuf (in which Lavant plays the fire-eating lover).
Boy meets Girl is invigorating filmmaking. With a nostalgic nod to J.L Godard, Carax uses startling imagery and extracts eloquent performances.

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