“LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF”
TIMELESS LOVE WITH NO PLACE
By Nevin Ulusoy
Love. What a magical word that makes butterflies fly in us, wanders in our veins like the warmth of spring, the breath with the joy of waterfall, an everlasting sound. Love, that unique feeling we name everything after these days, that will fade when it touches the material things, belongings, but always attributed to them, increases the amount of purchase when named, in the quest of hearts that will embrace it. The brightest mirror that pays no attention to any of the traditions, rebel, finds itself as it rebels, make people find themselves shows us the darkest parts of the soul. It has neither time nor place, it is surrounded by bleeding pain as much as the incredible mirth it gives, the feeling we cherish its grief immensely as well, if we have the heart of course, at the point of “the wind will carry us”, maybe deemed impossible, the maddest hopes that gives the real feeling of being alive as in Saramago’s novel “Blindness”.
Love. What a magical word that makes butterflies fly in us, wanders in our veins like the warmth of spring, the breath with the joy of waterfall, an everlasting sound.
“Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf” invites us to the world of love that belongs entirely to itself, is unpredictable, cannot be known, beyond all social rules that enslave us with invisible chains.
I had the happiness of watching the French film directed in 1991 at the cinema. There are books, films that we can never forget, have deep influence on us, the sentences, frames keep coming to our minds, because they had great contribution on the making of our character, life philosophy in our youth. When I watched the film for the second time a few days ago, I was filled with the same feelings, it has been thirty years, time has deepened the life principles, freedom, the courage to live the feelings freely.
It is as if the director Leos Carax wants us to review our lives in his unforgettable frames he goes through the limitlessness of love. We see at the leading roles Juliette Binoche (Michéle), who has a special place in me, Denis Lavant (Alex), and Klaus-Michael Grüber (Hans). The film has various international awards. European Actress of the Year, European Cinematographer of the Year(Jean-Yves Escoffier), Blue Dragon European Editor of the Year and Blue Dragon Film Award for the Best Foreign Film. The music that is in our ears for a long time is by David Bowie, Les Rita Mitsouka, Arva Part and Fred Chichin.
Love, that unique feeling we name everything after these days, that will fade when it touches the material things, belongings, but always attributed to them, increases the amount of purchase when named, in the quest of hearts that will embrace it.
Pont-Neuf is the bridge that the film is named after. It is the oldest bridge of Paris. The bridge that is being restored for the two-hundredth anniversary of French Revolution is shelter for the homeless as well. The homeless, being homeless. Being deprived of home, nest that Robinson Crusoe was struggling to build with all his might, to take shelter in the streets, on and under bridges, destroying the walls, living under the shadow of the sky, streets, being dragged from day to night, night to day. In Ali Smith’s novel “Hotel World” a woman who begs near a luxurious hotel thinks like that about a young girl who just sits on the pavement who people drop money in front of. It is obvious she cannot stay at home, there is something disturbing on her mind, things oppress her, the same thing happened to her, we sense her story even though we do not know for sure, she could not think of anything else than throwing herself somewhere outside. It is not very difficult to be homeless all of a sudden actually, the streets can embrace you when the rhythm of life is spoiled. In Paul Auster’s brilliant novel “The New York Trilogy”, our character whose duty is to follow someone finds himself on the streets as he investigates homeless people. He starts to live on the streets to be able to watch the person more easily, comforts into his new life slowly, he cannot recognise himself when he sees his reflection on a shop window. This kind of lifestyle has been normal for him in a short time.
Alex, he is a young man living on the streets. When we see him for the first time, he is utterly broken off life, he looks away deep in his own being, in a bad mood, meaninglessly, he scrubs his forehead on the road, absolutely unconscious in the middle of the road. They take him away, this is his state every evening. There is no trust in him, it is as if he has no past. Michéle, when we see her for the first time, she is utterly miserable, lost in her own depths. A picture bag on her shoulder, an eye bandaged. They see her sleeping on the bank that Alex normally sleeps. Hans, the old man Alex shares the place over the bridge with, insists on her going away, expels her very rudely, but Alex is very much impressed by her, wants her to stay. Hans, the past, the past that has thrown him here is visualised in front of him as he sees her. There is love budding in the depths of Alex’s eyes that seem so harsh, unreachable. It seems like Michéle quenches the harsh wind of loneliness of the bridge with her warm breath. Hans is very much disturbed. “Love cannot be here”, he insists. Is there a place for love other than the human heart? There is a sensitivity in Alex, his feelings are sharp, very deep, as deep as to feel the pain on his skin and lessen it that way. “Try not to suffer so much” says Michéle, he wounds himself when he is hurt. We feel neither of them is at present time, they have been lost somewhere, a life goes on just by sensing. We do not see Alex smiling much, a very serious face, it is as if he is behind a transparent wall. He is different only with Michéle, she says she wants to see him laughing, they get drunk madly, an intoxication of joy surrounds both of them. Paris is all sparkling with the celebrations, the capital of joy, they feel like all the celebrations are for them on the bridge. They feel like they catch the sparks of love in the present time in their lost situation, Alex is mesmerized. Alex makes a show with fire at night, he is incredible, it seems like the black fire reflected from his eyes. Michéle tries to draw pictures madly, there is a problem with her eyes, she is going to be completely blind soon. Alex thinks she will be with him all the time thanks to this illness, but Michéle is not just an ordinary person. She gets lost a short time later leaving a letter for him, she has learned that she can be cured, asks him to forget her. This is Alex, he says “nobody can teach me to forget” madly. Forgetting has its meaning or meaninglessness for Michéle as well with these sentences:
-”A person must seek the one she/he dreams about. This makes life easier.”
Love, where can it take a person, can it cause somebody to harm somebody else, maybe even the loved one, not to lose her/him, what kind of mad things can it make us do in the consistency of now? Can the dreams hold one as she/he struggles for freedom in the unknown painful claws of life, in the age of race of forgetting, consuming everything, maybe love is just a poem only in the dusty books, a few sorrowful hearts. If there are dreams then there is love, crazy dreams, “there is love even if it is beyond Caf Mountain”, otherwise life is a black nightmare.