THE FILMS OF PHILIPPE GARREL

Filmmaker PHILIPPE GARREL

Filmmaker PHILIPPE GARREL

“ ‘The child of Cocteau and Godard’ (Rivette), ‘the proverbial underrated genius’ (Assayas), Philippe Garrel began making films at sixteen, fired by a mythopoetic vision and a political fervor that crested and crashed in May ’68, whose turmoil he filmed in the long-lost, newly discovered Actua 1, and decades later re-created from memory in Regular Lovers. Then, beginning with 1982’s L’enfant secret, Garrel became something of the patron saint of narrative minimalists, making pareddown, cloistered works fascinated with the significance of minute gestures yet encompassing wider world affairs both social and romantic.

- from The Metrograph (New York) repertory screening of Philippe Garrel’s films (2017)


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."

 

GME distributes DVD editions of the following Philippe Garrel films:

 
 

L'ENFANT SECRET

(France, 1979)

After the generational upheaval of May ’68 and its aftermath, and the personal upheavals of drug addiction, depression, and shock therapy, Garrel made the conscious decision to turn away from the increasingly private poetry of his earlier work, at the center of which was his great love Nico. He turned to the great screenwriter Annette Wadamant, who helped him to organize his thoughts into a narrative of “things that happened to me,” and the result was this spare, elemental, devastating film about two damaged souls (Henri de Maublanc and Anne Wiazemsky) trying to build a life together as her child (Xuan Lindenmeyer) is taken away.

 
 
 

LES HAUTES SOLITUDES

(France, 1974)

“The idea was to make a film out of the outtakes of a film that never existed in the first place. So I conceived LES HAUTES SOLITUDES as outtakes, a very raw texture on her face. Her agent, her friends, everybody thought I wasn’t serious in my endeavour. I arrived every day at Seberg’s apartment with my camera and filmed her on the balcony, close to the window, for hours, with no role and no script. No-one thought that it was a real film, but she was very independent and didn’t care about this. I consider LES HAUTES SOLITUDES as much a Seberg film as mine.” – Philippe Garrel

 
 
 

LE LIT DE LA VIERGE

(France, 1969)

“I believe my point of view on the Christian myth is quite clear in LE LIT DE LA VIERGE (THE VIRGIN’S BED). It is a non-violent parable in which Zouzou incarnates both Mary and Mary Magdalene, while Pierre Clémenti incarnates a discouraged Christ who throws down his arms in face of world cruelty. In spite of its allegorical nature, the film contains a denunciation of the police repression of 1968, which was generally well understood by viewers at the time.” – Philippe Garrel

(included in The Zanzibar Films distributed by GME)

 
 
 

MARIE POUR MÉMOIRE

(France, 1967)

"Late 60s, the golden age of Barthes, Lacan, Debord, Marx and Coca-Cola ... A child of this era but also of Langlois and Murnau, Philippe Garrel, a silent young man, directs his first long feature, MARIE POUR MÉMOIRE. Today, the film is as dated as it is oddly current. The film has lived through declamatory tirades, the distanced acting of some actors, and the 2-CVs in the streets of Paris. The film has retained all its strength and beauty in the primitive scenes of Garrel as son, the comic power of Garrel as father, the presence and the face of Zouzou, the silences and the looks, the evocation of social violence, sentimental dereliction and solitude..." – Serge Kaganski

 
 
 

LE RÉVÉLATEUR

(France, 1968)

"For me, it was an absolute pleasure, at the time when Philippe Garrel had perfectly assimilated the importance of the cinematic image to the point of baptizing his film LE RÉVÉLATEUR (The Developer), allowing me the greatest liberty to improvise and to invent, with voluntarily minimal lighting in order to stimulate our imagination and an extremely sensitive film stock in order to capture the faintest glimmers or the strongest apparitions. If the photography of this little silent film borders on the amateurish, it is nonetheless one of the most beautiful in the history of cinema with its luminous and charming dreamlike manner and its reasonably fantastic narration, of remembering or of suggesting a wealth of sentiments, poetic and profound." – Michel Fournier, cinematographer

(included in The Zanzibar Films distributed by GME)