Monday, June 04, 2007

Regular Lovers

Regular Lovers (Philippe Garrel, 2005) [8]

I have been eagerly awaiting this film to be out on DVD and kudos to Netflix for actually getting it out there. There has been no film in the last couple of years I've been waiting for, mostly on the basis of The Hack's glowing review. While not as big of a fan, this film does paint a vivid picture of a certain time and place (Paris, May 1968) and does it with equal parts reverence and disappointment. It's a picture of big ideas and revolutionary zeal that ends up taking a back seat to a more personal struggle of a relationship. The film begins with a extended sequence of the May '68 upheaval, and Garrel lets the camera do all the talking, panning and meditatively focusing on the events. It's not trying to explain ideology; it comes across more as an intense study of that time. While Garrel wraps up a lot of thought into these events, it drags a bit. The film for me really finds its foundation in the aftermath, when the young idealists' revolution has been squashed and the main characters fall back into opium and broken dreams. This film works when the focus goes to Francois and Lilie as they grow deeper in their relationship as well as attempt to reconcile their failed dreams of revolution. For Francois, his relationship has for the moment, staved off he and his comrades inability to change the system. It's the sad reality that the old system won in 1968 and by the end of the film, those who tried to make change come to abandon all thoughts of anything positive occurring. Francois's support system is gone; Antoine, the friend he's staying with goes to Morocco, and even Lilie leaves for New York, leaving him exposed against his failures. Regular Lovers is a film of a filmmaker looking back and seeing the sad reality that begat the ardent ideology of youth.

The physical look of the film, shot in black and white is remarkable in that it looks like it was actually shot in 1968, not 35 years later. A lot of this could be credited to the lighting and aspect ratio, which give the film the look of being shot on old 16mm. It certainly adds to the overall effectiveness of the film.

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