Shy young Alex wanders the dark Parisian streets gazing in confusion at the passers-by. Meanwhile Mireille is being given the brush-off by her live-in lover. Eventually, their paths cross as if by destiny; in the meantime, numerous other loners have wandered in and out of Carax's meandering, moody narrative. Easy but unfair to fault Carax's first feature when he has conjured up a persuasively poetic atmosphere for his meditation on the failings of human intercourse. Credit must go to Jean-Yves Escoffier's astonishing black-and-white camerawork, and to the largely wordless, eloquent performances. Finally, however, the film's greatest coup is its creation of a Parisian purgatory of lost souls, bathed eternally in night. Absurd humour counteracts the morbid philosophising, while the alternately surreal and expressionist imagery is reminiscent of silent cinema at its most elegant.