The Night Is Young (aka Bad Blood) (Mauvais Sang)

Watched: 30 January

On the face of it this entertaining film by Leos Carax is about a love triangle (involving characters played by Denis Lavant, Juliette Binoche and Julie Delpy), but there’s a lot more going on than you might assume. It’s set in France in the near future, at a point in which young people in particular have been ravaged by a sexually-transmitted disease, which apparently strikes when people have unemotional, uninvolved sex; there’s an obvious parallel to be made with the AIDS epidemic, though I’m left wondering whether Carax would be so obvious, and whether there’s a wider point being made about relationships and love in France during the 1980s, when the film was made. (This is spelled out to some extent by the magical, iconic scene in which Lavant runs and dances along the street to David Bowie’s Modern Love, most recently copied by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha.)

On top of this, there are certain elements you’d normally associate with gangster movies here, and a couple of scenes that wouldn’t look out of place in a Mission: Impossible film, most notably a daring heist and a nail-biting mid-air rescue when a parachute jump goes awry. Still, the majority of the film lies with the love story, and Lavant and Binoche in particular deliver excellent performances that become increasingly frantic in nature. Visually interesting, moving and unexpectedly exciting in places. (****)