Léos Carax, maker of Pola X
and the wackiest episode of the Tokyo!
anthology, returns to feature-length films with the elusive, convulsive, maddening adventures of Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant), who assumes eleven different, often grotesque, roles while being driven around Paris by his assistant Céline (Edith Scob). Carax and Lavant jettison narrative niceties in favor of a series of surreal vignettes involving a fashion model (Eva Mendes), Père Lachaise Cemetery, a teenage girl (Jeanne Disson), various violent encounters, and the deserted Samaritaine department store. If only Carax had taken pity on us and provided a few more scraps of plot continuity – but no, it works better this way. M. Oscar’s journey through dreamland begins abruptly and annoyingly, but we’re gradually seduced by its rhythmic pace and its playful melancholy. André Breton would be proud. (116 min.)
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This year, it was all about genre.