The Lovers of Pont Neuf

Les Amants du Pont-Neuf

Leos Carax, France, 1991


In this scene snow serves to render familiar locations unfamiliar – a metro exit, the Pont Neuf – and to give them a childlike, poetic dimension. It is also because of the snow that the boy slips, and slides in to the path of the young woman, as if this is a chance encounter, outside of their control, but yet somehow predestined.

The shot of the stairs at the exit allows us to see the snow clearly framed against a black background, from a low angle, in a tight area of the shot. The magical whitening that the snow offers is thrown in to relief against splashes of red coming from the metro sign, the umbrella and red coat at the end of the shot. Following this the only colour that will have justification in the image will be the red of the cars and Denis Lavant’s sweater. In the last shot, where the couple are still, the snow looks like it might almost cover them and transform them in to a statue honouring love.