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AFS Essential Cinema: Philippe Garrel

AFS Essential Cinema: Philippe Garrel

The next round of the Austin Film Society’s Essential Cinema Series, puts the focus on French filmmaker Philippe Garrel. The series, called “French Maverick, Rebel Auteur: Four Films of Philippe Garrel,” begins November 27 with Regular Lovers (2005) and concludes on December 18 with The Virgin’s Bed (1969). Josh Rosenblatt offers a preview of the essential series, via The Austin Chronicle. He writes:

French director Philippe Garrel is one of the true enigmas of the film world. Born in Paris in 1948, an up-and-coming director by the time he was 21, friends with Godard and other big names in the New Wave, a longtime lover and collaborator of singer and Velvet Underground icon Nico, an award-winning director of more than 25 movies over the last 40 years, and still he’s essentially unknown here in America.

Reasons for this are varied. For one, Garrel has never been particularly interested in success or reputation (or America, for that matter), choosing what he calls “the life of the artist” over any recognition or monetary rewards. Then there’s the work itself, which draws no easy distinctions between the political and the personal or the meditative and the confrontational; as much as any director before or since, Garrel is in his element exploring the moral and emotional contradictions that conspire against human relationships. In addition, he’s not afraid to make his audience work for understanding: Motivations, intentions, psychological states – they all have to be surmised and not just digested. Which is all to say that Philippe Garrel was always doomed to be unknown in America.

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