Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Writers: Beieix and Jean Van Hamme, based on the novel by Daniel Odier, writing as “Delacorta”
Stars: Frederic Andrei, Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Richard Bohringer, Thuy An Luu, Jacques Fabbri, Dominique Pinon
The Story: A romantic young Paris postman secretly bootlegs a performance by an African-American opera diva on the same day that a dying woman hides another tape in his bag, implicating the chief of police in a prostitution ring. Different gangs come after him looking for the two tapes, but he is oblivious, blithely pursuing romances with both the singer and a punky young Vietnamese shoplifter. Soon he finds himself caught up in several harrowing chases across Paris.
Why It’s Great: When one talks of movies from the ’80s, the phrase “style over substance” often comes up, and this movie could certainly be accused of leading that revolution– it’s gorgeously shot but it has little of the social critique of the New Wave. But this movie gives style a good name. This is the look that American schlockmeisters like Simpson and Bruckheimer wanted to replicate, but their soulless big screen car-commercials lacked the lyricism that makes this come alive. For one brief moment, this movie actually made it cool to be cool. But while this movie moved away from moral considerations, it was nevertheless a refreshing leap forward in terms of showing the multicultural world that France was becoming. Godard’s characters may have carried around Mao’s little red book, but it rarely occurred to them to actually get to know any persons of color.
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