Philippe Garrel

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domino harvey
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Philippe Garrel

#176 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:57 am

Is it any good? I was kinda thinking of indulging, though I'll prob just wait for a cheap AmazonPrime rental from Distrib if that's the case

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Ovader
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:56 am
Location: Canada

Re: Philippe Garrel

#177 Post by Ovader » Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:27 pm

I haven't seen the film as I was hoping to view it via FLC Virtual Cinema at Lincoln Center but I am in Canada and that privilege is only for those living in the U.S. or U.S. territories with possible exceptions whatever they may be.

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barbarella satyricon
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:45 am

Re: Philippe Garrel

#178 Post by barbarella satyricon » Tue Dec 29, 2020 10:22 am

Before the year is through, just some thoughts on Garrel, whose filmography I only first took a dive into earlier this year. He had been in the periphery of my awareness for some time, mainly as the director of Les Amants réguliers, but also as someone whose work was largely inaccessible, both in terms of procuring viewing copies and the seeming cultural specificIty and hyper-personalized subject matter that appeared to be his cinematic métier.

That was the impression that held in my mind even when I happened upon, in an art gallery gift shop, what looked like a complete selection of the Garrel discs put out by Re:Voir. Having those editions in hand, I was intrigued, but also at a loss in figuring out where to start. From the cover art and synopses alone, I could tell that the earlier works looked to be high on the freaky experimental factor (although I haven’t yet seen nearly enough of those films to confirm that impression) and that the works that came later looked to be more straight-ahead narratives, or verité documents. Not knowing if a blind buy of any or all of the available titles would be the best course into Garrel, I just took note of them for further research.

In hindsight, that day in February was around when the pandemic was really starting to get under way, with the aforementioned gallery and other nearby museums setting up ad hoc check-in and check-up points at their entrances.

And a few weeks later, while social distancing and working from home, it was on these boards, in the Re:Voir thread, that I learned of the label’s stayathome program of free streaming films, with La Cicatrice intérieure and L’Enfant secret included on the slate.

That’s a long lead-in to talking about the films themselves (also a hearty recommendation of Re:Voir’s VOD on vimeo), but I guess when a film or a filmmaker comes clear into view and clear into one’s consciousness in any significant way, the context of that first meeting is also valuable and meaningful in the telling.

And the long setup is also to say that those two films I watched through Re:Voir had an immediacy (maybe even accessibility) that I hadn’t at all anticipated. And as gauche (or just gushy) as it may sound, I think the key to that fairly accessible opening into these films is just their sheer rarefied beauty as filmed documents.

Just off the top of my head, I can recall about a half-dozen moments in L’Enfant secret where the accretion of emotions achieved in what I was seeing and what I was hearing (the music, so vital, married to the images in the moment of viewing) was so strong, so plangent and bewilderingly redolent of recovered memories, that it felt almost intoxicating, in ways that I hadn’t experienced from film-viewing in a long time, and never before in such a way.

I’ve come to think, in the case of that film in particular, that it’s the use of natural or available light (or otherwise very subtle film lighting?) that lends such uncanny telegraphic power and immediacy to the images. The underexposed pools of darkness and masses of shadows in the foreground and background of different shots -

dusky wallpaper patterns in rented rooms (contrasted with the living, moving patterns of rustling trees seen through open windows), evening traffic on the boulevard roiling with swarms of grain, the chiaroscuro of Anna Wiazemsky’s upturned face lit by a streetlamp (or some other overhead light) as she receives kisses from Henri de Maublanc, the enveloping blackness all around their two figures -

these images create a world where gradations of light and dark, shadow and illumination, are not “smoothed out”, corrected or remedied as it were, but where an underexposed image, or area of blown-out contrast, somehow speaks to the situation as it really was, in both the material and the metaphorical meaning.

“The emotion is in the emulsion.” A quotation of Godard once read somewhere, whether originally spoken in English or translated I can’t be sure, and proper attribution or source of which I never could track down.

And this quote, which is Louise Brooks for sure: “The great art of films does not consist of descriptive movement of face and body, but in the movements of thought and soul transmitted in a kind of intense isolation.”

I know I’m laying it on thick, but these are the kinds of thoughts on the most essential qualities of film art that have come to mind in the subsequent weeks and months of thinking back on these films, L’Enfant secret in particular. That I got this from a first-time viewing on a laptop and then a repeat “screening” on a very basic projection system does make me wonder what a viewing on actual film would be like. I know I wouldn’t look at anyone sideways if they came out of it saying it was a religious experience.

La Cicatrice intérieure I also enjoyed a lot, almost like a proto-music-video experiment expanded to feature-length. Nico’s dialogue and bathetic carrying-on also just clicked for me from the get-go, like a cosmic comedy/tragedy where two codependent lovers/addicts are dropped or teleported into the middle of alien, otherworldly landscapes and they just keep carrying on like it’s still tenement hallways and bedsit rooms. The inescapability of inner drama and conflict, tawdry and mundane they may be, and these gradually expanded into a real cosmic quest, an externalized psychological saga. I hope the description doesn’t come off as derogatory, but the whole movie seems like the work of just the most committed, resourceful, visionary junkies you’ve ever known. I say that in a kind of awe, real wonder that the thing even exists.

I went into a dvd viewing of Sauvage innocence thinking that it would surely be a step down and maybe even a drag. A smattering of things I’d read online made it sound as if the filmmaking-slash-drug-addiction drama was a clunky and obvious one, and to an extent, the criticism holds. There is an element of “after school special” in the predetermined calamity of the film’s storyline, the programmatic earnestness of its presentation. But, as with the two films I saw before this one, it was the seemingly unmediated transmission of emotions and states of being from scene to scene that just took hold for me and made it play out like a clear, cogent, even gripping morality play.

It doesn’t hurt to have Raoul Coutard as your DP either, and I think the entire film hinges on the film-within-a film, shot-within-a-shot moment of the first night of shooting, the clapper loader saying scene 1 take 1, and then Friday’s Child (sung by Van Morrison) inaugurating the venture with procession and dance. It’s a sweepingly magical sequence, grand and delicate, a real and actual hit of the whole Day for Night love-of-filmmaking, life-as-filmmaking thing.

Went full blogger with this post, but in this year of Fellini, I just got hit out of left field with three by Garrel. The Bresson influence was something I recalled hearing or reading about (made even more direct with Wiazemsky and de Maublanc onscreen), but it was the feeling of Cassavetes that I also picked up on and worked out while watching. It was at those levels of discovery and initiation for me, and I post this long thing here to say to everyone who posted recommendations earlier in the thread, y’all weren’t lying. It’s been the feeling of having tapped into the mainline of some secret, parallel history of the art.

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Ovader
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:56 am
Location: Canada

Re: Philippe Garrel

#179 Post by Ovader » Fri Nov 26, 2021 1:19 am

Scheduled for a 2022 release Garrel's new film is titled La Lune crevée and is in pre-production. Louis Garrel, Esther Garrel, Léna Garrel, Aurélien Recoing, Francine Bergé and Damien Mongin are listed in the cast. Writing credits are for Jean-Claude Carrière, Caroline Deruas-Garrel, Philippe Garrel, and Arlette Langmann. I read the story deals with three siblings of puppeteers with one member dealing with his or her romantic travails.

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