Pola X

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Pola X
Pola X (movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Leos Carax
Produced by Bruno Pésery
Screenplay by Leos Carax
Jean-Pol Fargeau
Based on Pierre: or, The Ambiguities 
by Herman Melville
Starring Guillaume Depardieu
Yekaterina Golubeva
Catherine Deneuve
Music by Scott Walker
Cinematography Eric Gautier
Edited by Nelly Quettier
Distributed by AMLF
Release dates
  • 13 May 1999 (1999-05-13) (Cannes)
  • 7 October 1999 (1999-10-07) (Switzerland)
  • 9 December 1999 (1999-12-09) (Germany)
  • 19 September 2001 (2001-09-19) (France)
Running time
134 minutes[1]
Country France
Language French
Budget $11 million
Box office $791,919[2]

Pola X is a 1999 French romantic drama film starring Guillaume Depardieu, Yekaterina Golubeva and Catherine Deneuve. The film is loosely based on the Herman Melville novel Pierre: or, The Ambiguities. It revolves around a successful young novelist who is confronted by a woman who claims to be his lost sister, and the two begin a romantic relationship. The film title is an acronym of the French title of the novel, Pierre ou les ambiguïtés, plus the Roman numeral "X" indicating the tenth draft version of the script that was used to make the film.

The film was entered into the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.[3] Pola X has been associated with the New French Extremity.


Pierre lives with his mother Marie in a castle in Normandy by the riverside of the Seine. They are very beautiful, rich, carefree and they like themselves. Every morning, Pierre leaves on the inherited bike of his father to visit Lucie, his fiancee. One night, Marie announces to Pierre that she arranged the date for his marriage to Lucie. Pierre leaves to announce the good news to his fiance. On the way, in the forest, a funereal beauty appears. She speaks with a strong accent from the countries of the East: "Pierre... you are not the only child, I am your sister, Isabelle." A passionate incestuous relationship will ensue.


  • Guillaume Depardieu as Pierre
  • Yekaterina Golubeva as Isabelle
  • Catherine Deneuve as Marie
  • Delphine Chuillot as Lucie
  • Laurent Lucas as Thibault
  • Patachou as Margherite
  • Petruta Catana as Razerka
  • Mihaella Silaghi as The Child
  • Sharunas Bartas as The Chief
  • Samuel Dupuy as Fred
  • Mathias Mlekuz as TV presenter
  • Dine Souli as Taxi driver
  • Miguel Yeco as Augusto
  • Khireddine Medjoubi as Cafe owner's son
  • Mark Zak as Romanian friend
  • Anne Kanis as Chef's wife (Anne Richter)


The soundtrack was produced by Scott Walker and features some instrumental tracks by him, as well as contributions by Sonic Youth and Bill Callahan, who also has a cameo appearance in the film.

Alternative version[edit]

An alternate longer TV version entitled "Pierre ou les ambiguïtés", edited in three episodes with an additional 40 minutes of footage was shown for the first time on September 24, 2001 on Arte German-French TV channel.[4] The episodes were titled A la lumière, A l'ombre des lumières and Dans le sang.

Carax edited the TV version along the lines of serials from his childhood, in particular Vidocq.[5] The new scenes in the alternative version were produced during the original shoot with extra money raised by producer Bruno Pesery to allow them to exceed their contractually agreed 140 minute running time.[6] The new sequences explore the dreams of Peter and his relationship with his mother, sister and fiancee. In an interview with Jacques Morice, Carax stated that "it is not an "extended version" or a "final version" of the film "Pola X", but a different proposition for television."[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]