GME is pleased to present the release of Philippe Garrel’s MARIE POUR MÉMOIRE on DVD. This auteur is the unsung hero of the French New Wave, who only now is beginning to receive the international recognition that he is due, thanks to worldwide retrospective screenings in recent years of his work. As critic Matt Thrift has written, “It’s only in the last decade, since the release of his most widely-seen film, REGULAR LOVERS that Philippe Garrel has re-entered the collective cinephile consciousness. That Garrel has never received the international attention afforded the likes of Godard and François Truffaut is unsurprising given the drug-addled strides into the avant-garde he made almost straight out of the gate. Early works such as LE RÉVÉLATEUR – a silent head-trip shot with the entire cast and crew tripping on acid – are a far cry from the reflexive variations of his later narrative features, those indebted to the influence of his friend and mentor, Jean Eustache…His is a cinema of the incidental; few directors find such lucid beauty and grace in the spaces between action, dialogue and gesture. Garrel pulls countless tiny miracles seemingly out of thin air. The lack of judgement towards the characters in Garrel’s work is quickly taken for granted, but his fearless introspection knows no bounds. “
The films in this DVD edition comprise three of the films that Philippe Garrel made while he was still a teenager: LES ENFANTS DÉSACORDÉS (1964), MARIE POUR MÉMOIRE (1967), and ACTUA 1 (1968); this constitutes the adolescent period of his filmography. These sound motion pictures immediately preceded the films from Garrel’s silent period, among them LE RÉVÉLATEUR (1968), LE LIT DE LA VIERGE (1969), and LES HAUTES SOLITUDES (1974). The films in this current DVD edition center on the trials and tribulations of youth, amidst a background of rising social consciousness and unrest. MARIE POUR MÉMOIRE, Garrel’s first feature-length film, represents the missing link between the New Wave filmmakers and the Zanzibar group -- an informal association of young filmmakers situated within the revolutionary movement of May 1968. This DVD edition also includes his first short film (LES ENFANTS DÉSACORDÉS), which he directed at age 16 in three days only, with the short ends from a film sketch by Claude Berri, with whom he was a trainee. Finally, there is the famous ACTUA I, a revolutionary news film --supported by Jean-Luc Godard -- on the month-long barricades of May '68, finally unearthed after 47 years from the JLG film archive.
According to Maximilian Le Cain, writing in Senses of Cinema, "Garrel’s films are made up of moments, moments of day-to-day intimacy or alienation, often elliptically linked. Quiet conversations and silences between friends and lovers. And thought. Few other directors have made reflection so central to their filmmaking and almost none have captured it with such unforced grace. It is a cinema of contemplation rather than narrative. He shoots with the most basic means in an elegant, portrait like style. Sometimes he uses quite long takes, always with very little cutting around in a scene and often none at all. Scenes are filmed with a stillness and a patience that do the exact opposite of what most effective narrative cinema does, that is, to grab audiences and manipulate them into a state of false emotion."
Additional Philippe Garrel Films of Interest Available from GME: