The Night is Young

Mauvais sang

Leos Carax, France, 1986


Léos Carax based this dance sequence on an exploration of a musical treatment of colour.  He went to painstaking lengths to prepare the fences, which provide the setting for the sequence, much as a painter would, working with blocks and bands of red and yellow. He took care to remove all other colour that he couldn’t control in the scene and tried to give it a ‘natural’ feeling so that our visual sensations were limited to that of red and yellow.  This shot is a take on a modern musical dance routine, recalling the excerpt with Gene Kelly from Singing in the Rain which we looked at earlier, where the character runs along in front of the back ground, filmed in a lateral tracking shot.

Following his actor running parallel to the fences of the background creates a colour based rhythm, which is a visual exploration of the music to which Denis Lavant dances. At a certain moment Carax filmed the dance from further away, with a  longer focal length, and the blocks of colour which had been close in before hand now become a piece of almost abstract dripping art, presenting a rhythmic interplay of colours, detached from their more formal shapes.  All that we feel is a response to the sensations of moving colour and light.


the set.