Pola X (1999)
Directed by Leos Carax
October 13 and 15 at 92YTribeca
Much was made at the time over the graphic sex scene between Pierre and his sister, which takes place in a darkened industrial space and heralded a new sexual realism in French film. Golubeva ceded her place in this sex scene to a stand-in, but Depardieu chose to do the sex himself, eating out his on-screen sister with a hunger and a need that exemplify his fully committed performance. As time goes by, Pola X can perhaps most fruitfully be seen as a film about the tragic Depardieu, who died at the age of 37 (Golubeva recently died, too, of “causes unknown”). Carax doesn’t always seem to know what he’s doing here, but the angelic and damned Depardieu certainly does, and his guiding presence gives the film much weight and poignancy.