Monday, 3 August 2020

Lover for a Day [2017]

Philippe Garrel’s magnificent and beguiling gem Lover for a Day is a work of such heartbreaking beauty, radical formal lucidity and exquisite emotional precision, that one might feel the presence of so many French masters while watching it – Rohmer’s understated portrayals of romantic complications, Bresson’s monochrome realism and “stripped to the bones” aesthetics, and indeed also the muted, intimate ménage à trois
in the autobiographical works of the younger Garrel. This deceptively brilliant masterwork had all the hallmarks of the veteran auteur’s craftsmanship – delightful low-key interplay between three complexly etched protagonists, absorbing intimacy of a chamber drama, and the lightness of touch while portraying the brittle nature of relationships. Upon an intensely painful breakup, an emotionally wrecked Jeanne (Esther Garrel, the director’s daughter) lands in the homey little flat of her father Gilles (Éric Caravaca), a mild-mannered professor of philosophy, who’s having a passionate affair and living together with Ariane (Louise Chevillotte), a former student of his at the university. That the two girls are of roughly the same age begins their interactions on a testy note, but it soon evolves into warm camaraderie bound by empathy and shared secrets – Jeanne inadvertently gets to know that Ariane had once posed topless, and in turn a suicide attempt by Jeanne that Ariane somehow prevents; and their friendship is counterpointed by the themes of fidelity vis-à-vis sexual freedom that play out between Gilles and Ariane. Dazzling, grainy, softly illuminated, high contrast B/W photography imbued the interiors and the Parisian streets with a remarkably moody atmosphere; this, along with exquisite use of elegiac organ-based score and terrific turns – especially by Chevillotte and Garrel – made this such a splendid rendition of lived experiences.

Director: Philippe Garrel
Genre: Drama/Romantic Drama
Language: French
Country: France

No comments: