Posts Tagged ‘Philippe Garrel’

But there’s no point because we’re mortal

July 26, 2010

Exciting news, courtesy of Cineuropa by way of the Daily Notebook: Philippe Garrel’s new film, Un été brûlant, which stars Monica Bellucci and, of course, Garrel fils, begins shooting this week.

Being an unapologetic lover of pretty much all things Philippe Garrel, this is great, great news. I’m especially curious to see how Bellucci will do as the typically Garrelian “femme fatale/strung out/brooding/insecure actress” character.

With some directors, it’s actually a good thing that they make the same movie over and over again, forever retracing their steps, always finding something buried where it seemed that everything had already been unearthed.

(Visual) Quotes…, 2/9

February 9, 2010

Another one from “Elle a passé tant d’heures sous les sunlights…” (1985).

(Visual) Quotes…, 2/4

February 5, 2010

From Philippe Garrel’s “Night Wind” (1999).

Will you love me even if I go crazy?

January 29, 2010

I thought it worth relating to you, dear reader, that the most recent film by Philippe Garrel, 2008’s “Frontier of Dawn,” is now available for rental on DVD over at Four Star Video Heaven. I highly recommend it, though I do so cautiously.

Garrel is nothing if not a difficult figure: There are few directors whose work hits me harder, yet I can’t in good faith recommend masterpieces like “Elle a passé tant d’heures sous les sunlights…” because it’s quite obvious that they’re just not films for everyone, nor are they films for every mood. The difficulty in grasping Garrel also resides in the way that he strikes more or less the same chord with each film, and yet the movies seldom resemble one another. The formal play of “Elle a passé tant d’heures…” is a far-cry from the bifurcated grown-man blues of “The Birth of Love,” just as the lovers’ limbo in “I No Longer Hear the Guitar” is very different from the tug-of-war between life and art in “Emergency Kisses.” Each film leaves roughly the same stain, though in an altogether singular manner. But Garrel consistently nails it, and each film is as devastating and warm and involving as the one that preceded it. As much as I appreciate the far-outness of the first phase of Garrel’s career (the Zanzibar films and whatnot), I’m glad that he elected to translate his life—or rather, his solitude—faithfully into a series of wonderful movies.

It’d be a mistake to assume that “Frontier of Dawn” picks up where Garrel’s last film, 2005’s “Regular Lovers,” left off. May ’68 is now 40 years old and exists only beneath the fingernails of his characters, whereas in “Regular Lovers” it was a elegiac cloud that followed them everywhere they went, even into their most private spaces. Though the political manifests itself here and there in “Frontier of Dawn” (sometimes for comic effect), Garrel is much more concerned with finding and capturing the fragile type of love that he wrestled with in his work from the late 80s and early 90s.

The first hour of the film is a kind of nod to “I No Longer Hear the Guitar,” though Carole (Laura Smet) is just as similar to Brigitte Sy’s character in “Emergency Kisses” as she is to Johanna ter Steege’s take on Nico. Smet’s performance is especially gutsy because Garrel has her constantly flirt with tortured obviousness, yet she successively manages to keep Carole believable and wired to explode. Garrel’s son Louis basically plays the sort of character that Philippe would’ve played himself if he weren’t 61; Louis’ performance is much subtler, much less caricaturish and much more cleverly played than what he brought to François in “Regular Lovers”—in other words, it struck me as being a much more mature performance, but I guess 3 years’ll do that to ya.

William Lubtchansky’s images are, as always, overwhelmingly rich; the dialogue—partly written by frequent Garrel collaborator Marc Cholodenko—is perfectly prepared and cooked and utterly resonant; and the pacing is an agonized crawl, a bottle shattering in slow-motion, the sun refusing to rise after a sleepless night. At 61, Garrel seems to have any number of films left in him. Let’s hope he continues to inch closer and closer to his own essence.

(Visual) Quotes…, 1/21

January 21, 2010

From “Elle a passé tant d’heures sous les sunlights…” (1985).

How I spent my winter vacation

January 13, 2010

Come to think of it, if you’ve kept up with this blog at all over the past few weeks, you already know how I spent most of my winter vacation. But now that I’ve begun writing this post, I might as well share something or other with you, dear reader. What to say, what to say… Hmm… Oh! How about this:

Five great (what does that mean?) films I watched over the break

“I No Longer Hear the Guitar”/“Emergency Kisses”/“The Birth of Love” – I’m grouping these together because I approached them as a triptych and I ain’t sorry I did. Lately Garrel’s work has been doing it for me in a way that no other director’s has. I think these films would really resonate with anybody who is 21 but feels 51.

“Numéro deux” – You saw the images I posted yesterday, yes? If so, you can probably understand where I’m coming from.

“Two Weeks in Another Town” – It’s so ridiculous, so excessive, so convinced that it’s saying something truly profound about creative genius and the various obstacles inherent to big-budget art—profit-obsessed investors, sadistic former flames, unstable collaborators, etc.—that I can’t help but love it. One of Minnelli’s great charmers.

“Casa de Lava” – Again, I’ll let the images speak for themselves. If you can find it, you should savor every second of this stunner.

“Sansho the Bailiff” – Mizoguchi’s a master whose work I’m aiming to become much more familiar with in the semester ahead. “Sansho the Bailiff” is relentlessly affecting, ingeniously composed and brilliantly constructed. Watching this film one totally gets why the inaugural Cahiers du cinéma crew idolized him. Obviously “Ugetsu” is essential as well.

(Visual) Quotes…, 1/6

January 6, 2010

From “Le lit de la vierge” (1969).

Favorites from the decade that was

January 5, 2010

Fifty fillets of film, alphabetically ordered. Now I can finally get on with my life.

Click here to check out the list/encyclopedia.

“Le révélateur” on YouTube

December 22, 2009

Not sure what you’ve got going on today vis-à-vis traveling (I’m expecting a good long snow delay for myself), but if you have a free hour, I implore you to watch Philippe Garrel’s “Le révélateur” (1968), which can now be viewed in not-so-bad quality on YouTube. I’d like to write much more about Garrel in 2010; “Le révélateur” is an utterly gorgeous illustration of Jean Cocteau’s claim that cinema “is a first-class vehicle of ideas and of poetry that can take the viewer into realms that previously only sleep and dreams had led him to.” The DVD of Garrel’s most recent film, “The Frontier of Dawn,” will be released on January 26th.