Based on Herman Melville's story. Director Carax, who can be mesmerising when he is good, makes this film unbelievably trashy. Stay away. And surprise, surprise--for some unfathomable reason Carax deviates from Melville's ending where there are three suicides instead of one as chosen by Carax in the film. Even then it is a disaster of a film--Catherine Deneuve's time on the screen is the only saving grace.
Our Daily Free Stream: Leos Carax - Pola X (engl. subt.). Les Carax gilt als Verrückter. Das sei dahingestellt, denn bräuchte man nicht einen zweiten Wahnsinnigen, um den ersten zu erkennen? Zumindest kenne ich als Videothekar der Filmkunstbar Fitzcarraldo die Kunden, welche gern Carax Filme leihen. Alle Filme, denn sein Werk ist für sie Religion. Carax geht leidenschaftlich und impulsiv an die Arbeit.(...)
The image is briliant in its subtlety and rusty otherworldliness, cannot deny it. Great many thanks to Éric Gautier. But the whole story radiates with pretentiosness so much I won't belive Carax himself could now rewatch it without facepalming every now and then.
A brilliantly foreboding first half, very reminiscent of Bunuel at his finest, gives way to a second half that in some ways merely elaborates on Pierre's downward spiral. But the final impression of the film is that of a twilight world as dreamt by Lynch and Pialat at their finest, submerged by destructive obsession, and it is one of the most frightening and oppressive things I can remember watching.
"Je ne sais pas ... qui je suis." Pierre's every love is ambiguous; indeed, his life is nothing but his loves and their ambiguities, each of them charged and threatened by the rupture and instantly-receding rapture of the erotic. Carax gives us a blood-rushingly overripe rendition of Melville's maddening complex of identities in collision, a film about as faithful in its silliness as it is in its symphonic discord.
After adoring Holy Motors, and to a lesser extent, les amants du pont-neuf, I was quite let down by Pola X. It's first half is quite mesmerizing, but it descends into pretension and cartoonish misery far too quickly and easily. My suspicion is that, as Carax has alluded to, he is far too close to and reverent of the source novel. I will hold off on a final verdict until I get a chance to read the Melville novel.