Director: Philippe Garrel
Stars: Louis Garrel, Anna Mouglalis
3 (out of 5) Globes
What: Floppy-haired French dreamboat Louis Garrel (“The Dreamers”) again acts for his brilliant filmmaker father, Philippe (“Regular Lovers,” “The Frontier of Dawn”), playing a 30ish father who leaves his wife and daughter for an out-of-work actress (Anna Mouglalis).
The lowdown: Philippe Garrel is one of the great chroniclers of failed relationships. His difficult but unfailingly beautiful films — this one in black-and-white cinemascope — live in a world where couples always break apart, always move on, but remain controlled by the ghosts of paramours past. It takes a while to get a handle on his latest, which is a bit of a problem as it’s only 77 minutes long. It’s a series of moments that appear, at first, to be chosen at random — each mesmerizing on their own and seemingly content not to add up to much.
But keep with it. It’s not that it’s going somewhere major, although dramatic things do happen. It’s that it’s wallowing in a very specific mood, as well as running on a humanism that informs its every frame. It understands, almost stubbornly, that people can be complicated in a way that can’t always be explained. Sometimes it doesn’t even want to explain behavior. Characters remain mysterious. It believes in heartbreak as a regular part of life, and that it never quite goes away, but lives on in the undercurrent of one’s day-to-day. Louis Garrel himself delivers his least mannered performance to date. He finally seems to have gotten over his good looks, even though they’re still very much with him.
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