2014 Sundance Docs in Focus: Mr leos caraX

mr leos caraxThe first half of this year’s World Cinema Documentary Competition profiles wraps up with Tessa Louise-Salomé’s Mr leos caraX, from France, about the enigmatic director of such films as HOLY MOTORS and THE LOVERS ON THE BRIDGE.

Sundance Program Description:

Mysterious. Brilliant. Uncontrollable. Many words like these have been used to describe French filmmaker Leos Carax in both rapturous and negative ways. One thing that everyone agrees upon is that Mr. Carax went from fantastic success as a young, poetic filmmaker to having a reputation as a controversial, mad genius who struggled to get a single film made—and then created HOLY MOTORS, one of the most-loved films of the last 10 years. Obsessed with romantic, but destructive, characters, Carax has made breathtaking films with his strong visual style to back up his mythic status.

Combining thoughtful interviews with film critics and members of Carax’s cast and crew and moments with the man himself, director Tessa Louise-Salomé paints a compelling picture of the thoughtful Mr. X using her own visual poetry. The most captivating element in the film is the endless insight from Carax’s main actor and virtual double, Denis Levant, himself both firecracker and unassuming leading man—a perfect alter ego for Carax.

Some Background:
This marks Louise-Salomé’s feature directorial debut after her mid-length doc, DRIVE IN HOLY MOTORS, on Carax’s most recent film. She is joined by producer Chantal Perrin, who has had a long career in the French film industry, working on several films that have screened at top tier fests like Toronto and Cannes; and with television network ARTE France as co-producer.

Why You Should Watch:
Carax has been making films since the early 1980s, cultivating an aura of mystique – his professional name is actually an anagram of his real name, Alex, and Oscar, which is perhaps not coincidentally the name of Levant’s character in HOLY MOTORS. While arthouse audiences will recognize him through the success of MOTORS, his reputation is legendary in France because of his early success and the challenging production of his 1991 film, THE LOVERS ON THE BRIDGE. As noted by its title play on “Mr X,” Louise-Salomé’s film freely facilitates the director’s enigmatic notoriety even as it relates curious observations about his work and creative process, recruiting Lavant, Kyle Minogue, and Harmony Korine, as well as incorporating past interview footage with the likes of Juliette Binoche, to share their experiences of working with the auteur.

More Info:
For more information about the film, visit its website and Facebook page. As they become available, I’ll link to Louise-Salomé’s Meet the Artist Sundance video profile and to her Indiewire filmmaker interview. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2014 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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