Film · Review

Girl on: Leos Carax’s ‘The Lovers on the Bridge’

I have self destructive impulses. I know that every day being a step towards death doesn’t mean I should choose to hurtle myself down that path with all the intensity I can muster, but living any other way doesn’t make sense to me. On the inside, on some cellular level, I can’t feel alive unless I’m killing myself.

It’s manifested itself in different ways across my life. Disordered eating, self harm, a series of relationships that should have ended sooner or never attempted at all, and through all that far, far too many drugs. Somehow in the middle of all that I figured out I was trans too, I think I could have handled it all a lot better than I did.

Right now I’m trying to get well. I’m reading the self-help books my mother sends me, trying to fill my days with useful work, drinking a lot of tea and eating a lot of unsalted nuts. I try to remind myself every day that I am enough as I am right now.

I don’t always manage it. Denial isn’t fun in the same way, and all it takes is one decision for things to fall the fuck apart. There’s something in this being released five years before Trainspotting, they both seem to get the impulse very well.

It sets this couple’s earnest, passionate, death wish against a location that is being brought back to life. Them finding refuge in a walled off part of an old decaying Paris that is being cleaned up from beneath them. Her eyes are failing, and as an artist she interprets that as some kinda spiritual death. She has a home, a boyfriend, but life has been so unfair to her what’s the point in giving it respect.

We meet him drunk, getting run over by a car. Whatever drove him to this point is immaterial, right now this is all there is.

It’s weird, having never seen this, three years ago I wrote a script that was very similar. I mean, it was gayer, but all movies should be. This was around the time that every night I’d go to a park and get blackout drunk because I couldn’t handle being around my housemates. They weren’t bad people, I was, and deeply ashamed. I usually made it home.

Anyway, I wrote this thing in a notebook at nights and typed it up during the day and showed it to a few people but never made it. I guess i don’t need to, this is better, and it takes the time I never took to understand the beauty in such things. Only by allowing yourself to be nothing can somebody truly be your everything.

I worry that someday, someone’s going to approach me and offer me a chance to destroy everything that I’ve made of my life. I can only hope I won’t say yes.

The Lovers on the Bridge is currently streaming on Mubi in the UK, you can sign up for a free trial here.

Denis Lavant and Juliette Binoche in The Lovers on the Bridge
Image courtesy of Artificial Eye

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