Carax en Asie

envoyé par morgue le 26 juin 2001 à 04:52:19:

dans l'edition asiatique du Time : A Romeo, French director Leos Carax, comes to Asia looking for his cinematic Juliette :,9754,108666,00.html

"Friday, May. 4, 2001 It's a rare event when French director Leos Carax comes to town. Ballerina and bastard of French cinema, he made "Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf," France's most expensive film ever -- and that was in 1991. The film was either the most rapturous and romantic piece of celluloid ever made, or simply a crude lesson in excess, depending on which side of the fence you sat. Carax couldn't make a film for eight years after Les Amants, so depleting had the experience been and so disparaging were the French critics.

Carax likes carnal. He discovered Juliette Binoche way back in 1984, and then made her. She was the lead in Les Amants at a time when their relationship was up and down like a fiddler's elbow. The film was his yearning love poem to her; it ached, it sparkled, it tormented, it bled. Now, 10 years on, Carax is in Asia looking to cast for his next project -- and he's looking for fresh talent. The French Romeo is looking for his Asian Juliette.

In Beijing recently leafing through a magazine, a picture of an actress/model caught his eye. Two weeks later he met his potential muse in Hong Kong's Great Eagle Hotel. Carax had already met Maggie Q and some of the Gen-Y Cops actors the day before, and although he liked them as people, he had little interest in them cinematically.

But then in walked 25-year-old Taiwanese actress Shu Qi -- the most rapturous face in Asia. To look at Shu Qi is to look at Asia's Binoche, and more. She has the ethereal, grave, soulful beauty the young Juliette Binoche exhibited, before she went to Hollywood and got her soul ripped out. But more than that, Shu Qi has a wilder side. If she'd been born French, she would have been a strong contender for Beatrice Dalle's role in Jean-Jacques Beineix's "Betty Blue." Not only do they have the same mouth, they both have the quality that makes you believe they may never wake up the next morning, victims of an overdose, or mental self-clubbing. They are fallen angels.

Carax had spent the previous night in his hotel room watching Shu Qi in the infamous parody porn film, "Viva Erotica," with Leslie Cheung in the lead. Smoking and scoffing lychees, he fast-forwards the film to find her screen moments. He watches intently as she coos and saturates the lens -- and Leslie's heart. Carax thinks she comes across as "une petite peu Betty Boop," but that she evidently has the necessary gravitas for him.

Carax doesn't do platitudes. He tells Shu Qi during their meeting that if they work together she's either going to have to sleep with him or marry him. Shu Qi is aghast. She's doesn't exactly unravel in front of him. She's nervous, shy, and far from indulgent. It's not surprising, really. Leos Carax is not only famous for filmmaking, but also for his lack of sanitary prowess. He's like a baby abandoned too long at the bottom of a 19th century fish basket. His breath smells; his hands and feet are small and somewhat undernourished; he chews his nails badly; and his hair is an afterthought. Shu Qi certainly meets Carax's approval. He pronounces her to be at a "very curious stage in her life." This is a reference to Shu Qi's efforts to upgrade her product from "B" league to "A" league, which she tells him about.

One thing Shu Qi certainly wouldn't give him was any English. But Carax isn't looking for the Queen's English for the role he has in mind. He wants Shu Qi rather more street, than soigné. He wants broken English, building-site Brit speak. Verbally, he wants Asia's Victoria Beckham -- poor man's Posh. In this Shu Qi could oblige.

So Romeo got to see Juliette, but this time her name was Shu Qi. He now wants to meet her in Paris or at Cannes (the film festival starts in a week). She's not so sure. Shu Qi screwed up her face and looked like she was going to disgorge when I asked what she thought of Carax. "He's very, very strange," she spewed. "I'm not sure I could ever like him." Looks like Carax has a very big balcony to climb if he is ever to consummate on celluloid this Juliette.

Before Carax left Hong Kong, he gave Shu Qi a copy of the book "Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf" for her birthday. The message inside (his own yearning note) read: "Dear Miss, please try and speak more English the next time we meet. Until then, stay well, and remember to stay curious about everything. Love. LC."

In other words, Carax is ready for a whole new cinematic rapture, but I don't envisage Shu Qi standing on the Pont-Neuf wondering wherefore her Romeo."


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