DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Denis Lavant Day *

* (restored/expanded)

 

‘One of the great performers in cinema in the past 30 years, the acrobatic, elastic, kinetic Denis Lavant has defined some of the best films from the world’s best filmmakers. Appropriately associated with the films of Leos Carax, in which he has appeared in 4 of 5 features (as well as a short), and one of the greatest endings in movies, the dance sequence of Claire Denis’ Beau travail, the stage and film actor is something of an idol of cinephiles, almost exclusively lending his talent to auteurs.

‘Lavant was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, in France. At 13, he took courses in pantomime and the circus, fascinated by Marcel Marceau. He trained at the Paris Conservatoire under Jacques Lassalle, and began his professional career in 1982 in theatre, acting in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice. In 1982 he appeared in the television film L’Ombre sur la plage, before playing the minor part of Montparnasse in Robert Hossein’s Les Misérables, which was entered into the 13th Moscow International Film Festival where it won a Special Prize.

‘Lavant appeared in several further minor roles, most notably in Patrice Chereau’s early, defining 1983 film L’homme blesse, before making his breakthrough in 1984 as the lead in Boy Meets Girl, playing a depressed, aspiring filmmaker who falls in love with a suicidal young woman. The film marked the directorial debut of Leos Carax, with whose films Lavant has been associated ever since.

‘In 1986, Lavant and Carax worked together again on the thriller Mauvais Sang and again in 1991 on Carax’s third film, the legendarily disastrous yet increasingly respected Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. In both Mauvais Sang and Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, Lavant starred opposite Juliette Binoche. In 1998, Lavant appeared in the iconic Jonathan Glazer-directed video for the UNKLE song Rabbit in Your Headlights, and in 1999, he played one of the lead roles in Beau Travail, directed by Claire Denis. His famously intense, strange dance at the film’s conclusion to the old disco hit “Rhythm of the Night” is considered one of the defining moments of ’90s film.

‘In 2007, Lavant appeared in Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely, in which he portrayed a Charlie Chaplin impersonator. Lavant, who does not speak English, took an intensive language course in preparation and learned his lines phonetically. His longtime associate Leos Carax appears in a supporting role as the main character’s talent agent.

‘After appearing in a series of interesting but mixed achievement films, including Camping savage (Wild Camp), a stylish French revision of the slasher movie template, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s commercially successful A Very Long Engagement, Lavant and Carax re-united in 2008 for the anthology film Tokyo!, which marked their first work together since Lovers on the Bridge and Carax’s first major directing work in nearly a decade. Carax’s segment for the film, called Merde, starred Lavant as a violent monster who lives in the sewers of Tokyo and speaks in a gibberish language, venturing out occasionally to attack passersby.

‘In 2012 Lavant starred in Leos Carax’ brilliant film Holy Motors where he plays a “chameleonic actor on assignment, ferried around Paris in a white limousine and changing en route from beggar-woman to satyr to assassin to victim.” The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and it won both Carax and Lavant numerous prizes internationally.’ — collaged

 

___
Stills










































































 

____
Further

Denis Lavant @ IMDb
‘Denis Lavant, Céline entre les lignes’
‘Denis Lavant- Leos Carax: 30 ans d’une relation hors norme’
‘New Spaces: A Conversation with Denis Lavant’
Denis Lavant @ Twitter
‘Holy Motors: Denis Lavant interview’
‘Denis Lavant, le jumeau aux cent visages de Leos Carax’
Denis Lavant page @ Facebook
‘Denis Lavant dans l’univers de Koffi Kwahulé : “C’est toujours le début d’une aventure…”‘
‘Denis Lavant: Sovereign Design’
Video: ‘Master Class: Denis Lavant’
Video: ‘Watch Jonathan Glazer’s Demonic Chocolate Bar Ad starring Denis Lavant’
‘WHY HOLY MOTORS’S DENIS LAVANT SHOULD BE NOMINATED FOR THE BEST ACTOR OSCAR’
‘CineHeroes | Interview de Denis Lavant’
‘DENIS LAVANT | Cris & Poésie’
‘Denis Lavant: “Je fais confiance à mon ordinateur organique”‘
‘Faire danser les alligators sur la flûte de pan, Denis Lavant’
The Denis Lavant Archive @ Film School Rejects

 

____
Extras


The Wizard, a film about French actor Denis Lavant


Casting / Denis Lavant / Boy meets girl / Leos Carax


Denis Lavant, entretien vidéo


DenisLavantPod 1


LE DUENDE AU CORPS: un portrait de Denis Lavant

 

______
Interview

 

What about your first meeting with the director Harmony Korine, how did it happen? It is said that when he wrote the character of Charlie Chaplin, he was just thinking about you to interpret this character, is that true that he wrote this character especially for you?

Denis Lavant: Yes, absolutely. I actually learnt that some time after we’d first met. I was very impressed to hear that, because I know that Harmony Korine wanted to meet me because he saw me in the films I made with Leos Carax. It means that he met Leos Carax, he saw his movies, or at least the three in which I played. And so I think that’s why he wanted to meet me and give me the role of Charlie Chaplin’s impersonator.

You don’t speak English, do you? Did this create difficulties for you during the shooting?

DL: Yes, it was quite awful for me. When I met Harmony Korine, I found him very sympathetic, but we actually barely communicated at first time, or we always needed the help of an interpret. I’d never wanted to learn English because I found this language kind of commercial and I didn’t find any interests in learning it.

And now that you have been confronted with these language difficulties, is there still no interest in speaking English?

DL: Not really, sometimes maybe. But I am, above all, a theatre artist, so the first language I am used to speaking is French. What I can say is that playing in English with English actors was, for me, the target of this film, especially during some of the trickiest scenes, for example when I had to speak while playing table tennis. I actually had to attend an intensive English course prior to the shooting.

What was your first reaction when you first read the screenplay? Did you accept this role immediately?

DL: Yes, immediately. I know the film can appear a bit strange and difficult to follow and to find its meaning, but it was what I liked in it. I love the fantasy in this film. For me, this film is about the dignity of the human identity, the search of people for their identity. This film show how the character of Michael Jackson’s impersonator decide to go to this community to search his identity. That’s why I was very impressed when I first read the screenplay: How something that appeared to be just full of fantasy and disorganised, actually broadcast beautiful and strong ideas.

Mister Lonely is also a dark film, quite pessimistic. Did you feel any loneliness during the shooting?

DL: Yes it is a pessimistic film. But I didn’t feel lonely. It was even one of the films during the shooting of which I felt the least loneliness. The atmosphere during the shooting was indeed really warm, first because the actors were all very nice, and also because we were disguised all day like insane people (laughs).

In one scene, your character’s wife, Marylyn Monroe’s impersonator, tells you that sometimes you looks more like Hitler than like Charlie Chaplin. What do you think? Did you play more Hitler or Charlie Chaplin?

DL: I actually felt like I played a character. I started with looking at myself, to find what I had in common with the comic character invented by Charlie Chaplin, not Charlie Chaplin himself. I found in him some similarities with my face, my physic, and also with my ability to play acrobatics and pantomimes. And then, I also appreciated the character of Chaplin, the spoiling of his image or its exaggeration. The way it was also a caricature in life and how awful he became. That’s why Marilyn says that to him. But what is surprising too is that, when I was preparing for my role, I also used the DVD of The Dictator in which there is a documentary showing a parallel between Hitler’s rise, his access to power and Charlie Chaplin’s carrer. And it showed how the character of Charlie Chaplin, who was wicked in his first comic films became more humanist. And how Hitler also built his character, with his moustache and the way how all his public appearances were directed. He was also kind of an actor. Except that, in Hitler’s case, it became a craziness because there was no more separation between the human being and the representation. On the contrary, Charlie Chaplin had this cleverness to show that his character was a character and when he got rid of his moustache, he was a normal human being, a director and an actor.

But your character is also quite sensitive and he sure love his wife, we can even see him cry. Maybe he is not as devil as we all think?

DL: Maybe he loves her, but still. For me he portrays the human craziness. He could be called a ‘narcissistic pervert’ (strong laugh). He actually could be both sincere and awful. And what is interesting is that all human beings are quite like that. I mean, there is no pure gentleness and pure badness, everyone is situated between those to extreme points. And my character is closer to the awfulness, he likes making the other suffer. He is also very jealous.

Are you a ‘narcissistic pervert’?

DL: I hope not (laugh). But I think that everyone has impulses, that fortunately he doesn’t develop. Everyone can be schizophrenic or paranoid or a narcissistic pervert. And as an actor, I can appreciate that very well (laugh).

Director Harmony Korine said you are one of his favourite actors with Buster Keaton, Humphrey Bogart and James Dean. What do you think of being compared with such actors?

DL: The three of them, it’s a lot! (laugh). I really appreciate Buster Keaton because he was above all a burlesque actor, such as Chaplin, and I was really inspired by them. I admire them a lot. I also started by playing without speech, that’s why I feel really close to them. I started only later to work on theatre texts.

You have played in lots of theatre pieces. Did this film, with the show of the impersonators and their fancy dress, remind you of the theatre?

DL: Yes absolutely. This film was a great show. And, as for me, I am above all a theatre actor, so I really enjoyed it. I play for the cinema quite rarely and have an important role in a big film only every two or three years.

It is said a lot that you are a ‘physical’ actor, an actor that plays a lot with his body. Is that true?

DL: That’s true. I agree with that, but in the same time, as an actor, I think that an actor has always to be physical, when he plays for the theatre as well as for the cinema. It is part of the mise-en-scene, of the play, an actor can be either physically restrained or exteriorise a lot, it all depends on the style of each one. Maybe I am more physical than the average (laugh), but I admit it. It is part of my pleasure. I love dancing, I love all my body to play. For me, a role isn’t just a face and a voice, and the great actor that I admire are those who use their body to give a shape to their character, for example Marlon Brando, whose acting has so much style.

What could you tell us about your plans for the future?

DL: This year, I have also played in a film by director Merzak Allouache, which was a great adventure as it took place in the Sahara desert and I played a fashion photographer. What I really enjoyed is that it was a more ‘normal’ role given to me, less extreme than the one I had in Leos Carax, Claire Denis or Harmony Korine’s films. I have played a lot of extreme characters, often marginal, so it was the occasion for me to have the experience of a film dealing with a more conventional day-to-day. Apart from the films that I’ve already finished and should be soon released, I am also going to Japan to shoot my fourth film with director Leos Carax.

 

_______________
20 of Denis Lavant’s 90 roles

______________
Patrice Chéreau L’homme blesse (1983)
‘L’Homme Blesse is a 1983 French film directed by Patrice Chéreau, and written by him and Hervé Guibert. It won the César Award for Best Writing. The film is a stark portrayal of the homosexual underground in the dark, midnight streets of Paris. The film focuses on Henri (played by Jean-Hughes Anglade, who gives a courageous and intense performance), a friendless young man whose difficulty in accepting his own homosexuality further alienates him from a world where he has been set adrift. Alone, self-exiled from his family, Henri turns to the midnight Parisian streets, where he meets Jean, (Vittorio Mezzogiorno) a tough pimp and thief. Jean initially manipulates Henri’s confused vulnerability, but later, secretly drawn to him, embraces him into his clique of fellow theieves and male prostitutes. This is a difficult film to watch at times, as Henri is one of the most excessively alienated characters ever filmed. The film’s conclusion is a startling denouement to a life hurtling wildly out of control.’ — collaged


Trailer


Excerpt

 

______________
Leos Carax Boy Meets Girl (1984)
Boy Meets Girl resembles a number of other movies, sometimes coincidentally. The rich, erotically velvety black-and-white cinematography recalls Eraserhead and The Elephant Man, while the surreal one-thing-after-another-over-a-night plot evokes After Hours. The film’s most explicitly reminiscent, though, of both Jean Luc-Godard and Jim Jarmusch’s early work, only Carax doesn’t share their self-congratulatory snobbery. Breathless and Stranger than Paradise (released the same year) revel in the coolness of not giving a damn. Carax’s characters, however, assume these cool poses awkwardly and with little satisfaction, and their stumbling humanizes them and grounds the movie’s endless conceits down in tangibly earthly disappointment. When Mireille (Mireille Perrier) cuts her hair short in place of a suicide attempt, she unmistakably resembles Jean Seberg, but with a far greater degree of emotional exposure: There’s an explicit element of desperate compensation to this gesture that transcends name-dropping. Alex (Denis Lavant) is one of the most common variations of this youthful creature: the aspiring filmmaker who sees everything through the scrim of what could or might be a movie. Alex is also director Leos Carax’s real first name, and it’s pretty clear that this film, his first, was intended to represent a form of biographical exorcism. It’s a try-out movie about trying out, as the text explicitly concerns a wanderer in search of emotional fulfillment, though he occasionally passes that off as looking for artistic inspiration. The self-reflexivity here is about as elaborate and alternately exhilarating and maddening as it would be in Carax’s subsequent films.’ — Slant Magazine


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

_______________
Claude Lelouch Partir, revenir (1985)
‘French film Partir, Revenir would always be remembered for its musical score.This film’s solid foundation has been built around a mesmerizing musical score composed by great Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff and Michel Legrand.Those who know about French director Claude Lelouch and his “large than life” films would surely be aware of the fact that Mr.Lelouch had directed all kinds of major stars of French cinema.This phenomenon is quite visible in this film as there is something unique about unparalleled Lelouchian method of handling actors. This is one reason why players like Annie Girardot, Jean Louis Trintignant, Marie France Pisier, Michel Piccoli and Richard Anconina who are veritable stars of French cinema remain true actors when they are in a Claude Lelouch film. While making Partir, Revenir, Claude Lelouch has ensured that there should not be any hint of an impending sensationalism and suffering.This narrative device functions well in this film as it has neither tears nor trauma with which audiences generally tend to associate Holocaust/Nazi themed films.The true beauty of this film lies in its many scenes of joyful madness.’ — IMDb


Excerpt

 

_______________
Leos Carax Mauvais Sang (1986)
‘Michel Piccoli stars as an aging gangster stricken by fear who ropes in a young Denis Lavant (a son of a dead cohort) to help with a heist. While staying with Piccoli, Lavant becomes drawn to Piccoli’s young mistress played by Juliette Binoche. Carax seems to pick up where Godard left off with Breathless. There’s a relentless and wild energy to the film that plays with the tropes of gangster films while also making the gangster film both absurd and beautiful. Carax jumps from the kineticism of frantic but controlled handheld camerawork to static close-ups and composed shots, and more, which makes it a whirlwind of style. Denis Lavant brings his own unique energy too. He’s always great to watch because of how he moves and here that’s put to great use, one scene in particular of him running and thrashing to Bowie’s Modern Love got me pumped ‘cause he really match’s the energy of the song. On top of everything it’s also kind of a sci-fi film with a virus that attacks those who have sex without love and other odd additions. All the little oddities and film references never really distracted from the film though, if anything they just enhanced the powerful bond between Binoche and Levant as they are so unfazed by the madness due to being consumed by each other.’ — Herzog Baby


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

_____________
Leos Carax Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf (1991)
‘Carax capped his “Alex trilogy” with this dizzyingly romanticized valentine to l’amour fou, once again casting Juliette Binoche and Denis Lavant as the title characters, a homeless couple who set up a love nest on the bridge over the Seine. The young filmmaker received permission to film on Paris’ famous Pont-Neuf, but when that proved unfeasible, he built a replica in southern France. This combination of realism and artifice spills over to the film itself, which includes a semi-documentary sequence shot in a homeless shelter. The relationship between the lovers is by turns touching and unsettling, with Carax juxtaposing the beautiful with the sinister so as to heighten both – reminiscent of Claire Denis. This alchemy of beauty and ugliness is a key to unlocking Carax’s approach to filmmaking; it amounts more or less to a particularly cinematic worldview, one that comes to the fore in his subsequent work.’ — Harvard Film Archive


Excerpt


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

______________
Jean-Michel Carré Visiblement je vous aime (1995)
‘Des obsessions, des rites, des bizarreries, et un grand mystère : la folie. C’est à cette question que s’est intéressé le réalisateur Jean-Michel Carré en 1995, dans Visiblement je vous aime, un film à la fois beau et dérangeant incarné par Denis Lavant et par les pensionnaires du Coral, un lieu de vie situé près de Nîmes accueillant des jeunes autistes, des psychotiques mais aussi des jeunes en difficulté sociale. Le sujet du film de Jean-Michel Carré est sensible, et il nous intéresse. Car c’est précisément de la folie dont nous allons parler chaque dimanche après-midi dans « Fol été ». Une heure pour évoquer cet étrange basculement de la raison, grâce aux témoignages des patients du Centre de Jour Antonin Artaud de Reims mais aussi grâce un invité, un artiste, qui a choisi d’explorer le thème de la folie, en créant un spectacle, en écrivant un livre, ou en réalisant un film… Cette semaine, c’est Jean-Michel Carré.’ — France Inter


Excerpt

 

_______________
Claire Denis Beau Travail (1999)
‘In Claire Denis’ Beau Travail (1999), the eminence of doom is almost palpable; from the foregrounded terrain of war, to the protagonist Galoup’s (Denis Lavant) exclusion from the taut brotherhood of legionnaires and his reflections on mortality, it is a text concerned with endings, limits, and the finite nature of being. Based loosely on Herman Melville’s novella Billy Budd, Beau Travail tells the story of French soldiers stationed abroad and the power struggle (both hierarchical and libidinal) between Chief Master Sergeant Galoup and his subordinate Gilles Sentain (Grégoire Colin). The geographic specificity of the legion in Djibouti, Eastern Africa places the men in a country defined as a border itself, straddling the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and couched between the limits of Eritrea and Somalia. In this sense, the film is concerned with the finite—with the ends of things—and the formal elements substantiate the film’s refusal to succumb to a totalizing narrative, particularly that which is so often associated with war films: patriotism.’ — cléo


Trailer


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

_____________
Veit Helmer Tuvalu (1999)
‘Nearly devoid of dialogue, Tuvalu relies on the physical expressiveness of its cast to convey the story. The style of the film is reminiscent of the movies of the silent era and also of the work of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who is known for Delicatessan, The City of Lost Children, and Amelie. The movie is mono-chromatic, having been hand-tinted in a “brighter-than-sepia-tone” and blue, and occasionally green. The result is a film that is visually striking, filled with dramatic contrasts – from open, barren landscapes to the closed, intricate spaces of a bathhouse. Production design and cinematography are exceptional. Tuvalu is one of those rare films that gives moviegoers the opportunity to see the art of the motion picture through new eyes. Inventive and engaging, it crosses boundaries and makes us want to come along for the journey. Made for less than two million dollars it, ironically, delivers more fun than most big-budget Hollywood “ride” movies. As such, Tuvalu earns my highest recommendation.’ — 24 Frames


Trailer


Excerpt

 

_______________
Lionel Delplanque Deep in the Woods (2000)
Deep in the Woods is one of several films in recent years to deconstruct the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. Director Lionel Delplanque sets in with a stylish grip and never lets up – that is the pleasure of the film. For a time, you are not even sure what type of film Deep in the Woods is. It is only in during the last third that the film reveals itself to be a slasher film rather than a monster or werewolf story. The young cast are a standard victimology spread for a slasher film with about as much depth of characterization, although they do at least get more naked than their modern American counterparts do. Delplanque manages quite ably able to keep everything in the film in a constant state of unease. Suspicion shifts between each character – including the victims – and back with deft regard. The film is never better than during the early scenes where Delplanque creates something both superbly amusing and sinister out of Francois Berleand’s suggestive sexual advances on Vincent Lecouer. Delplanque also creates some fine scenes with cameras eerily prowling through midnight forests, some unique novelty deaths and an eerie scene where the wolf costume comes alive to attack Maud Buquet as she emerges from the shower into a bathroom that has seemingly become an entire netherworld filled with steam. Delplanque’s constant generation of stylish eerie imagery sets Deep in the Woods head and shoulders above most modern post-Scream (1996) studio-processed teen slasher fodder.’ — Moria


Trailer

 

______________
Jean-Pierre Jeunet A Very Long Engagement (2004)
A Very Long Engagement has two distinctions. First, one of the five condemned men, played by Denis Lavant, is a socialist welder. Very few films have represented any working-class individuals — even minor characters — as socialists. Films, as well as other forms of fiction, tend to portray socialists as middle-class intellectuals and workers as indifferent to politics — the tendency that not only erases working-class socialists from history but also harbors a condescending view of workers’ intellectual capacity. A Very Long Engagement is an interesting partial exception (partial in so far as the socialist welder is represented as unable to reach his fellow workers except by joining them symbolically through an act of individual refusal). The second distinction, the more extraordinary, is that A Very Long Engagement shows a French soldier killing a French officer during an offensive. The soldier, Benoît Notre-Dame (played by Clovis Cornillac), sees the officer kicking the bodies of dead French soldiers whom the officer curses as incompetent cowards, and, outraged, he suffocates the officer in the mud. Nobody sees his act (except the audience), so he does not get charged with murder. And, among the five condemned men, he is the most resourceful survivor, saving Manech’s life and escaping himself. What other film has shown a soldier kill a superior and get away with it?’ — Critical Montages


Trailer


Excerpt

 

______________
Christophe Ali, Nicolas Bonilauri Wild Camp (2006)
‘In Sam Mendes’ American Beauty, poor Kevin Spacey undergoes a life-altering experience while watching Mena Suvari perform a cheerleading routine, one that leads to epiphanies both pleasant and ugly. Directors Christophe Ali and Nicolas Bonilauri tread on similar ground in Wild Camp (Camping sauvage) to a point, inserting married-with-a-kid ex-con Denis Lavant as a man who crosses paths with teenage temptation, here in the form of free-spirited Isild Le Besco. But unlike American Beauty, Wild Camp tilts the playing field a little differently as we are left to watch Levant slowly succumb to the thoughts he tries to suppress, and society be damned. Some viewers may have to adjust their own moral compass for a film like this—as the whole older man/teenage girl affair typically exists as taboo—and directors Ali and Bonilauri paint their two star-crossed leads as randomly misguided in their own rights, but underneath it all, true to each other. It’s tough to dislike either of them, even though we know what’s about to happen probably can’t end happily. Both Blaise and Camille have reached a point in their own lives that seems insurmountable, and that familiar searing tingle of sexual chemistry and attraction seems to make it all seem better. The narrative quickly moves to a darker, less than bubbly resolution, and all of the pensive glances and furtive touches slowly erupt into a sad extension of teenage angst.’ — Digitally Obsessed


Trailer

 

_______________
Harmony Korine Mister Lonely (2007)
Mister Lonely is a very unusual, sometimes even strange film, which combines two stories, without apparent link between them. The first story is about a Michael Jackson impersonator (Diego Luna) who lives alone in Paris and performs in the streets to make ends meet. At a show in a retirement home, Michael falls for a beautiful Marilyn Monroe look-alike (Samantha Morton) who suggests he moves to a commune of impersonators in the Scottish Highlands. Michael discovers there Abraham Lincoln, the Queen, the Pope, Madonna and the others preparing for the commune’s first gala. He also meets Marilyn’s daughter Shirley Temple and her possessive husband, Charlie Chaplin (Denis Lavant). Meanwhile, a group of missionary nuns in a Latin American Jungle soon sees a miracle happening when one of them accidentally falls from a flying plane. Even if it could sometimes appear difficult to follow, for example to establish the link between the two main stories, a strong idea emerges from this film. It is all about human identity and the search of each person’s own identity. Even if pessimistic at times, this film is closed to the burlesque genre. The reason for this film to be seen is that it carries everyone to a supernatural world, never mind your understanding of its meaning, full of flying nuns and impersonators, who’ll surely allow you to escape from a daily routine.’ — France in London


Trailer


Excerpt

 

______________
Leos Carax Merde (2008)
‘There’s nothing in recent memory quite like Merde. Defiantly pushing the bounds of good taste, reveling in its own sense of outrageousness, Leos Carax’s short film—the middle segment of the multi-director triptych Tokyo!—is the best kind of provocation: an act of incitement performed for the pure pleasure of the thing. In this regard, Carax’s stance is a lot like that of his hero. As the titular character arises from his subterranean home to terrorize the Tokyo citizenry, everyone tries to explain his anomalous presence (the Americans link him to Al Qaeda, the Japanese to the Aum cult), but despite the tantalizing tease Carax gives us of leftover military equipment from Japan’s 1937 China campaign in the character’s underground cave, Merde’s actions can’t be accounted for by any existing political context, only by his generalized hatred for humanity. As embodied by the brilliant Denis Lavant, done up with a turned-out eyeball and wispy, red beard, Merde is a truly inspired creation. Introduced through a series of street-level tracking shots, the character shuffles his way down the pavement garbed in only a tatty green suit, grabbing crutches from handicapped people, spitting on babies, and shoving money down his throat before descending back to the sewer from where he came. The scene’s an exhilarating rush of pure cinema, Carax’s camera pulling back to keep pace with its relentless subject who, like his director, bulldozes through any considerations of propriety with a disregard so pronounced and a sense of disgust so evenly distributed among its targets, that it finally proves liberating.’ — Slant Magazine


the entire film

 

_______________
Eva Ionesco My Little Princess (2011)
‘Even without the wire hangers, Eva Ionesco’s semi-autobiographical debut, My Little Princess, feels an awful lot like other monster-mommy tales, only this time, the director seems to be underplaying, rather than exaggerating, the particulars of her horrific upbringing. The helmer, daughter of Parisian photographer Irina Ionesco, achieved notoriety at an early age after appearing nude in her mother’s provocative portraits. Princess shows her still quite conflicted on the subject — and the casting of Isabelle Huppert, here in ice-queen mode, conveys everything about the odd blend of alluring glamour and twisted psychology. Huppert will be pic’s best shot at reaching famously conservative American auds.’ — Variety


Trailer


Excerpt

 

________________
Leos Carax Holy Motors (2012)
‘Films are always getting described as surreal, whether they are or not. But this year we saw a genuinely surrealist movie. Leos Carax’s Holy Motors is unfettered by logic and common sense; it takes off in all directions – inspired by Cocteau, Franju, Lynch, Buñuel, Muybridge, Kafka, Lewis Carroll and many more. It’s a kind of road movie. Monsieur Oscar is an enigmatic businessman, played by Carax’s longtime collaborator Denis Lavant, being ferried around Paris in the back of a white limousine, driven by Céline, played by Edith Scob. He has a number of mysterious appointments, for each of which he has to apply a new and elaborate disguise. But what on earth are these appointments? In the course of each, he seems to enter a different or parallel universe in which his persona is unquestioningly accepted. He is an angry father, a homeless bag lady, an assassin and even a motion-capture studio model whose acrobatics create a weird and wonderful erotic animation which we are permitted to see and which doesn’t seem any more or less real than everything that comes before or after.’ — The Guardian


Trailer


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

_______________
Sophie Blondy L’ étoile du jour (2012)
‘A circus is set up by the sea where the wind is cold and the audience scarce. While the shows are entertaining, the tensions among performers grow by the day. Angèle loves Elliot but the dangerous Heroy is determined to win her over by any means. With Denis Lavant, Béatrice Dalle and Iggy Pop. The circus is a favourite backdrop for films that are anything but festive. In Sophie Blondy’s second feature, she introduces a motley mix of characters who are bound together in obscure ways. The story is set in a depressing town on the French coast, where the performances are held in front of half-empty benches. The real excitement is primarily outside the circus tent, where the sad clown Elliot (Holy Motors’ Denis Lavant) has an affair with ballerina Angèle, to the fury of the circus director Heroy – who will stop at nothing to conquer the object of his love. Apart from being plagued by the director, Elliot is also tormented by his silent yet eloquent conscience, surprisingly played by Iggy Pop. And in The Morning Star we also see Béatrice Dalle, in her typecast role of flamboyant gypsy soothsayer.’ — iffr.com


Trailer

 

______________
Arnaud des Pallières Age Of Uprising: The Legend Of Michael Kohlhaas (2013)
‘Anyone unfamiliar with German author Heinrich von Kleist and his 200-year-old novella Michael Kohlhaas will likely spend much of Age Of Uprising—the book’s puckishly misnamed second cinematic translation, and a 2013 Palme d’Or nominee—twitchily anticipating a Braveheart-esque orgy of ass-kicking, bastard-impaling payback. Set in the 16th century, in what’s now part of Berlin, this austere, forbidding film follows a humble man on a self-immolating quest for satisfaction after a baron illegally confiscates two of his horses, then returns them wounded and broken. Kohlhaas (Danish star Mads Mikkelsen) takes the horse-pilferer to court, but the nobleman uses his influence to get the case dismissed. There’s almost no music, just the pervasive rasp of a brutal wind whipping a landscape as beautiful and unyielding as Mikkelsen’s indelible face. And then there’s the matter of its pace, which can fairly be described. As. Unhurried. Contemplative. Languid. Glacial, even. This is certainly intentional. It imparts a sense of life in the 1530s as brief and full of hardship, with little hope that one’s fortunes or station in life might be improved. Midway through, when a priest warns Kohlhaas that only humility and forgiveness can achieve the ends he has chosen to pursue through violence, even the speech seems to last an eternity. (The priest is played by Denis Lavant, memorable from 2012’s mind-bending Holy Motors.) This indolence probably helps the film to lodge more stubbornly in the audience’s memory, even as it makes it a minor chore to sit through.’ — The Dissolve



Trailer


Excerpt

 

_______________
Fiona Tan History’s Future (2016)
‘The debut feature from visual artist Fiona Tan starts at the end, with a title card in a cinema signalling the closing credits. The lights come up to reveal a man comatose in his seat, then the audience saunters in, backwards – the film, and the music that accompanies it has been reversed. Tan, we quickly learn, has little use for the conventions of traditional narrative filmmaking. Denis Lavant, playing a blind lottery ticket salesman, combines a scene-stealing comic turn with a lecture on the symbolic resonance of his disability.’ — Screen Daily


Trailer

 

________________
Emmanuel Bourdieu Louis-Ferdinand Céline (2016)
‘One of the greatest admirers of Celine, a genius writer but also a fanatic anti-Semite, was … Jewish. From the meeting in the summer of 1948 between author collabo, in exile in Copenhagen to escape the purge, and New York scholar Milton Hindus, Emmanuel Bourdieu shot an exciting but wobbly film. The director dissects this relationship in all its complexity: Celine and his companion (Geraldine Pailhas, brilliant) use their new friend as moral surety. The critical apprentice thinks that his interviews with the author of Mort on credit will bring him fame. But the evocation of the novelist at work is weighed down by didactic dialogues, an illustrative staging and the sometimes too clownish play of Denis Lavant.’ — Telerama


Trailer


Excerpt

 

________________
Emily Atef 3 jours à Quiberon (2018)
‘April 1981. Romy Schneider is in cure to fight against her addiction to alcohol and sedatives while she prepares “La Passante du Sans-souci” which will remain her last film. Her friend, photographer Robert Lebeck, convinced her to accept an interview with Michael Jürgs of Stern magazine, which spans three days. Her best friend, Hilde Fritsch, is cautious about their intrusion and the impact of these exchanges on Romy’s fragile morale. Adopted by France largely thanks to Alain Delon, her partner in “La Piscine” and her companion for several years, then thanks to Claude Sautet who gave her her best roles, Romy Schneider was not really allowed to to get rid of her eternal image of a girl too pure of the series “Sissi” in her native country. At the time of this interview, she is at worst. She drinks too much, heals pill reinforcements and smokes cigarette after waking.’ — Telerama


Trailer

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yeah, I when I make those thematic posts, I try to stay away from things people are probably already familiar with. Nice about the chocolate. Then they were quite good actors, weren’t they? ** Tosh Berman, Hi. Clark was complicated and had a dark, vindictive side. Being on the other end of it definitely wasn’t pretty. ** Steve Erickson, I expect heavy handedness from Lee’s films, for sure, but, when he’s on, it’s strange and interesting how he can make that work. Thanks for your thoughts on the film. Very into seeing it. As I told David, I try to stay away from overly familiar examples. I didn’t check, but I suspect those clips and youtube wouldn’t be very compatible? ** Bill, Thanks. Ha ha, wow, yeah, thanks for catching that example/clip. Everyone, Bill found and scored a thing that should have been in yesterday’s post. The title — ‘London museum is livestreaming a key 21st-century artifact—festering sewage’ — of what you’re about to see, should you choose to see, will tell you all you need to know. I liked your tune big time! Thanks about the meeting. We’ll see very shortly. ** Jamie, Awesome, man, my, err, pleasure? I’m good, the usual, and you? Hey, when do you get to Paris again? Oh, let me pass along your thing to any lucky Glaswegians. Everyone, Here’s Jamie. Listen up and do if you’re able. Jamie: ‘ I’m not sure that many folk who visit the blog will be able to go, but Hannah’s putting on this event on Saturday at Glasgow Women’s Library and everyone is welcome!’ Let me know how that goes, please. May your Wednesday remove the vocoder from Britney Spears’ hits. Finessed down to the atomic level love, Dennis. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Wim Delvoye’s ‘Cloaca’ was in the shitshow. Excellent news about YnY’s snowballing world invasion! ** Nik, Hey, N! Well, the big meeting is in 2 hours and 14 minutes, so I’ll let you know later. Unfortunately, right now we are doing nothing but figuring out how we can compromise enough for ARTE and somehow retain enough of what we want to do. No fun. Glad you dug the post, of course. Thanks for your email address. Yeah, I have a bunch of rapid work I need to do for the aforementioned ARTE thing, but I’ll get to read your piece, think, and say stuff by week’s end. I would totally love a post about Fahey from you, yes! Please, if you don’t mind and would find that interesting to make. Permanent green light, in other words. Thanks a lot! ** Jeff J, There were some shit-related commenter quip-eroonies, yes. For me, yeah, the Manzoni was way, way too iconic to include. I’ll know if they can get the clips probably by tomorrow, I think. Glad your shoulder is inching in the right direction. Be careful not to feel so rock star-like you start doing windmill air guitar. I’ll definitely listen to Patois Counselors, maybe even today. Thanks a lot, man. ** Chris dankland, Chris! There you are! Hey, hey, hey! Well, your own world is undoubtedly a fine place to hang out, so cool. Yeah, I found that post and it just seemed to be begging me to re-up it. Things are good here, busy as usual with work on projects (next film, TV show, etc.). Really glad that summer is over. I feel at least 100% certain that there are a whole bunch of bronzed if not gilded dog poops sitting on many mantles. It was super great to see you in NYC, for definitely sure! I’m glad you liked ‘Them’. You’re coming on the 5th? That’s so awesome! So you delayed your move out west? How are you? Are you writing and making things and doing well and feeling happy, I sincerely hope? You have the best morning! ** Misanthrope, Your dad is a character, if you don’t me saying so. I mean, really. And brave. May the hay have welcomed you with open … straws? ** Cal Graves, Hi, Cal! How cool to see you! Yeah, John Knuth’s awesome, as an artist and guy too. How are you? What’s up? What’s the latest with you? ** Okay. I restored the old, dead Denis Lavant post while simultaneously beefing it up a little such that it coheres with the present tense. See you tomorrow.

8 Comments

  1. Denis lavant is what the French call “jolie laide” with an emphasis on the “laide” he’s quite remarkable, and looks nothing like Carax who uses hi as his alter ego.

    I am in mourning for Barbara Harris

  2. Comedy Central would probably need to have posted the episode themselves, or they would’ve ordered YT to take it down had someone else put it up. It’s weird what things pop up there – like 90 silent seconds of the infamous and commercially unreleased Eli Roth-directed Lana del Rey video where he depicts himself and Marilyn Manson raping her – but they took down the unofficial video for Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” that I listed here as one of 2017’s best music videos due to a complaint by Universal Records.

    Only 2 & 1/2 hours till the rehearsal for my film! I think the actor I hired is extremely talented based on the shorts I’ve seen him perform in, and we’ve certainly talked a lot on the phone about the film, but I still haven’t met him and I’m curious how my words will sound from his mouth the first time.

  3. Here’s my interview with JOHN MCENROE: IN THE REALM OF PERFECTION director Julien Faraut: http://www.studiodaily.com/2018/08/director-julien-faraut-john-mcenroe-realm-perfection/

    My rehearsal went well. The only issues were that we didn’t rehearse in the space where we’re shooting the film, thus the blocking isn’t exact – there’s only one shot out of nine where the camera moves and two where the actor moves – and the actor hasn’t memorized the entire monologue yet, especially since I’ve sent him several drafts in a fairly rapid amount of time. Based on the rehearsal, I need to change 4 words and then send him a very slightly adjusted version of the script (and print out a new copy and make xeroxes.) The cinematography took photos. I want to figure out how to make a new page for the film on Facebook and upload them.

  4. hi !!

    I’ve been interested in Denis Lavant ever since watching Holy Motors, but except for Mister Lonely that’s the only movie I’ve seen him in. thanks for today’s post, there are several movies on here that I’d like to check out. did you see the Celine movie and if so what’d you think? I’ll probably start there. Do u have a favorite Lavant movie that isn’t Holy Motors?

    Everything is so wonderful with me lately, thanks for asking – I’m very happy with Jennifer, but I’m tired of Pennsylvania and I’m itching to move. We had to delay the move a little bit so Jennifer could fix things with her job, but the big bonus is that she can do her job remotely from AZ, so that’s really good – we can take her paycheck with us.

    I’ve been working on a novel for the last few months about a teen girl in a wheelchair who puts on a pair of roller skates and can suddenly walk again. Then she falls in love with a rock n roller/car thief. And then this sadistic hypnotist steals her away.

    Btw, what does it feel like to be hypnotized? What kind of things would you do while hypnotized? Hypnosis freaks me out, but I’m fascinated by it. I might ask u some follow up questions about hypnosis b/c you’re the only person I know who’s ever been hypnotized.

    Besides that, I’m working with Jennifer on revamping the xray website so that it looks better and the navigation is more interesting. I keep meaning to do all these interviews for the site but I keep procrastinating about it. I know I just need to jump in and get it done.

    So that’s the long and the short of everything to catch up on – I get very inspired and motivated watching you working full steam ahead like u do. Thanks for making so much interesting stuff for me to enjoy.

    I hope your morning is A+ !! take care

  5. Dennis! Open straws. You know I love corniness. 😀 That was corny, but like most corny things, it was hella funny.

    My dad was indeed. It’s funny how many times I find myself saying shit he used to say.

    “They went through them like shit through a tin horn.”

    “It’s raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock.”

    “If you want sympathy, look it up in the dictionary. It’s right between shit and syphilis.”

    Etc.

    We were watching Good Times once and JJ had to go to the clinic for a VD test. We asked my dad what VD was. He goes, “It’s when your dick is like a leaky faucet.” My mom goes, “Jesus Christ, Boots, don’t tell them shit like that.”

    😀

    Yes, my dad’s nickname was Boots. Real name Elmo. His sister gave him the nickname. She said he was so tiny when he was born that he could fit inside a boot.

    So funny, too, how so many people knew him as Boots and never knew his real name until he died and they saw it in the obituary.

  6. Dennis! Open straws. You know I love corniness. 😀 That was corny, but like most corny things, it was hella funny.

    My dad was indeed. It’s funny how many times I find myself saying shit he used to say.

    “They went through them like shit through a tin horn.”

    “It’s raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock.”

    “If you want sympathy, look it up in the dictionary. It’s right between shit and syphilis.”

    Etc.

    We were watching Good Times once and JJ had to go to the clinic for a VD test. We asked my dad what VD was. He goes, “It’s when your dick is like a leaky faucet.” My mom goes, “Jesus Christ, Boots, don’t tell them shit like that.”

    😀

    Yes, my dad’s nickname was Boots. Real name Elmo. His sister gave him the nickname. She said he was so tiny when he was born that he could fit inside a boot.

    So funny, too, how so many people knew him as Boots and never knew his real name until he died and they saw it in the obituary. Dennis! Open straws. You know I love corniness. 😀 That was corny, but like most corny things, it was hella funny.

  7. Btw, Got in those straws early and then just lay there letting little shit bug me. Might’ve gotten 5 hours last night.

  8. LOL I think due to the time difference I am too slow with my responses to posts to make the PS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2021 DC's

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑