Philippe Garrel (France, 1948) debuted with the 15-minute short Les Enfants Desaccordes (1964).
Marie pour Memoire (1967)
Le Revelateur (1968)
Le Lit de la Vierge/ The Virgin's Bed (1969)
La Cicatrice Interieure/ The Inner Scar (1971)
short Athanor (1972)
Les Hautes Solitudes (1974)
Le Berceau de Cristal (1975)
Voyage au Jardin des Morts (1978)
Le Bieu des Origines (1979)
L'Enfant Secret (1982), a project started in 1979,
Liberte' la Nuit (1984)
the short Rue Fontaine (1984)
Elle a Passe' tant d'Heures sous les Sunlights/ She Spent So Many Hours Under the Sun Lamps (1985)
Les Baisers de Secours/ Emergency Kisses (1989)
J'Entends plus la Guitare/ I Can No Longer Hear the Guitar (1991),
dedicated to Garrel's former girlfriend Nico who died in 1988,
is a film of stark psychological analysis
of self-destructive love,
filmed in Garrel's
trademark style of long takes and closeups.
It is particularly fascinating to see Garrel reenacting his marriage breakup
with his ex-wife played by... his ex-wife.
The film opens at the beach.
A couple in bed: Gerard and Marianne.
He asks her if she wants a baby. She says no.
Another couple, Martin and Lolla, discuss reality and love.
Martin, a painter, and Gerard (whose occupation is never given) are buddies.
Marianne is jealous of Lolla, but Gerard
claims that she's only his buddy's woman.
Then we move to the city. Gerard and Marianne visit Marianne's son, who lives
his granma. Gerard would be willing to adopt the boy but Marianne tells him
that it would be a bureaucratic nightmare.
Marianne is complicated and insecure.
Fast forward again, and a devastated Gerard is telling Martin that Marianne
left him. Martin too has been dumped by Lolla.
The two men agree that they deserve it because they stopped loving them, although not realizing that they did.
Gerard has an affair with a married woman, Linda, but then out of the blue Marianne
returns, simply saying that the other man is in jail and now she wants to
stay forever with Gerard.
Gerard watches when she pees and kisses her.
She introduces him to heroin.
Linda is being abused by her husband and comes to Gerard looking for moral
support. She asks him to make love to her and, when Gerard refuses, she leaves disappointed.
Gerard and Marianne become addicts until Gerard is pennyless.
Gerard leaves her and gives Martin a farewell letter for Marianne in case
he died. Marianne moves back to her mother's place in Germany.
A new woman,
(played by actress Brigitte Sy, in real life Garrel's ex-wife),
moves in with Gerard (only introduced as "a friend of Catherine's", even though the film has no Catherine).
He marries her and they have a son.
Years later Marianne shows up again. They meet in a cafe.
She has kicked the habit and is now "clean".
They have sex in a hotel room and then he returns to his family.
Gerard disappears and a worried Aline calls Marianne who denies knowing where he is.
But he is with her, and doing drugs again.
Marianne and Aline meet in a cafe and Aline gets angry at Marianne's cold
and cynical demeanor. Nonetheless when Aline leaves it's Marianne who cries.
In fact, Gerard returns to Aline. But Gerard is soon involved in another
affair, this time with a friend of Aline's.
One day Aline informs Gerard that Marianne died in a bicycle accident.
Gerard is hurt. He travels to the island where Marianne was vacationing and visits the spot where she died.
Gerard meets Martin and tells him that he has a six-month old son.
There's yet another woman in his life, the young Adrienne.
This time Aline had enough and asks him to move out.
La Naissance de l'Amour/ The Birth of Love (1993)
Le Coeur Fantome/ Phantom Heart (1996)
Le Vent de la Nuit/ Night Wind (1999)
Sauvage Innocence/ Wild Innocence (2001)
The three-hour, black-and-white film
Les Amants Reguliers/ Regular Lovers (2004)
is a nostalgic paean to the student protests of May 1968
as well as a document of their failure.
The scenes are poorly lit and the audio comes with a loud hiss.
It feels more like a documentary or a reality show than a regular fictional film.
The film often stops with puzzling close-ups of faces.
It captures the atmosphere of the French Nouvelle Vague of the 1960s.
All the characters look tired and bored.
The film opens with a panorama of the city at night.
Then moves to a group of friends who climb a spiral staircase to an apartment.
Antoine smokes opium.
Francois is a poet who is uncertain whether to publish his poems.
Jean-Christophe is a wall painter who prefers to live anonymous.
Francois meditates that we're always alone.
Francois is visited by a cop because he has refused the medical examination for compulsory military service. Francois still refuses and the cop leaves furious.
Francois opens the window to enjoy the music of a street musician and sees
that the cop is coming back with
another cop. Francois flees the apartment.
The film than moves to Francois with a group of conspirators and then we see
a smoky scene in which people are setting fire to things and throwing objects.
We hear protesters shouting and whistling, and cars honking.
We see someone gets wounded. The protesters call the police "Nazis".
We hear gunshots.
We see protesters overturning a car to use it as a shield.
We see protesters dressed in soldier uniforms set up a rocket launcher and shoot a rocket.
And so on.
Suddenly the scene morphs into
the storming of the Bastille in 1789 and into a scene
of 18th century peasants marching silently in the night, holding torches.
Then we are back to the burning cars, the shouts and the gunshots, and we
see a police squad charging the protesters.
Francois, with a wounded hand and a dirty face, runs through the streets, chased by the police. He rings the bell of
a random apartment but the owner refuses to let him hide inside.
He climbs on the roof and hides behind a chimney until dawn.
The following day the newspapers report the riots in the front page,
as well the contemporary strikes in the factories.
Francois heads for the apartment of a young woman (not introduced to us)
where his father leaves many of his clothes.
He then heads for his mother's place.
His mother is listening to the news on the radio: the
stock exchange is on fire. She welcomes him silently.
There's the feeling that the movement has failed.
Francois has lunch with his verbose grandfather Lucien and another woman who
doesn't get introduced to us.
Francois is summoned to court for refusing military service.
The defense lawyer tells the court that Francois is a poet and is physically
unfit for military service.
He is sentenced to six months in jail.
Francois and a friend visit Antoine who offers them opium.
Francois falls asleep and dreams scenes of the protests.
A group of students get together for a party.
Four girls walk in.
Luc shows his chest wound to the girls.
Francois is attracted to one of them Lilie, who knows that he is a pot
and has seen him on the barricades.
They become lovers.
Francois visits again Antoine. Francois tells him that he dislikes his father.
Antoine's father died in an airplane crash when he was a child and left Antoine an inheritance
that he has used to indulge in drugs and little else. He calls the inheritance his "revolution".
Antoine involves Francois and the others in a dangerous operation to deliver drugs.
Francois and Lilie walk at night in the deserted streets.
At another party Antoine introduces his girlfriend Camille to Josephine.
We see a close-up of Antoine's previous girlfriend Shad.
Jean-Christophe consoles her and they sleep in the same bed.
Antoine criticizes a militant while passing opium around.
Jean-Christophe and Shad shoplift a couple of books.
Jean-Christophe sends a goodbye letter to Antoine accusing him and all the
others in the groups of being bourgeois.
Antoine ignores it and shows Francois how he makes second-rate opium for the poor.
Luc has turned to painting using Antoine's house and produce a painting that lilie admires.
He and his girlfriend Lea are broke.
He presents it to Antoine hoping that Antoine will buy it.
Antoine immediately accepts to buy it. It's obvious that it is just
Lilie invites Francois to her mother's place and shows him family pictures.
Lilie talks to Francois about her father, a
communist who quit his factory job to become an artist, and an
illiterate who became a writer. She is now a sculptor.
Lilie is visited in her studio by her friend Charlene who announces that she's
getting married to an old boyfriend and she's teaching him new forms of sex,
things he has never done before.
Lilie tels Charlene that she too is in love.
Francois holds a pistol against his head and pulls the trigger, but there is
no bullet inside. Luc comments that he must be madly in love. On the other hand,
Luc receives a break-up letter from Lea who accuses him of being cruel to her,
but she comes back after two days.
Jean, another sculptor, but already successful, offers to pay Lilie to pose as a model for him.
Lilie tells Francois. They need money to move to a new place.
Francois has a simpler solution: move in with Antoine.
Francois pretends to be indifferent. Lilie turns to the camera and comments
that "the solitude in every man's heart" is incredible.
She begins to model for Jean. Jean hints that he could introduce her to art dealers. She cries.
Francois, always unemployed, keeps smoking opium with Antoine.
Francois has a nightmare in bed and Lilie swears that she will always stay with him.
The police knock at the door: Antoine and Francois frantically hide the drugs.
The cops pretend they are simply there for some unpaid fines, and Antoine pays.
Antoine's girlfriend Camille cooks for Francois.
One evening the cops stop and frisk Francois, Antoine, Luc and another friend while they are walking in the street.
Antoine decides to move to Morocco.
Lilie is worried that they (she and Francois) now have to move out.
Luc too will lose his studio. She and his girlfriend too will have to move out.
Antoine's erratic behavior, perhaps induced by LSD, alarms his friends who
take him to a hospital.
Lilie and Francois move to an apartment. Francois writes poetry.
Lilie invites him for a walk and then announces that she's moving to the USA.
She admits that she wants to join Jean, who already left.
Lilie meets Charlene again, who is now pregnant.
It's a melancholy farewell.
We then see a mysterious woman who is sitting at a cafe writing down a sort
of shopping list.
After one year Lilie writes a letter to Francois from the USA: she has become an anarchist.
While he's reading it,
Jean-Christophe walks past him and tells him that the revolution is not dead,
the movement is restarting.
The film ends crytpically with Lelie and Francois,
dressed like 18th century peasants, living in a humble
home in the countryside,
and venturing in the woods in the middle of the night, falling asleep
at the foot of a tree.
It is obviously a dream. It is Francois' last dream. The last scene shows
a cop who determines his death: Francois killed himself.
La Frontiere de l'Aube/ Frontier of Dawn (2008)
Un Ete' Brulant/ A Burning Hot Summer (2011)
La Jalousie/ Jealousy (2013)
L'Ombre des Femmes/ In the Shadow of Women (2015)
L'Amant d'un Jour/ Lover for a Day (2017)
Le Sel des Larmes/ The Salt of Tears (2020)