Welcome to this week’s edition of GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!! Okay, we seriously wish we could even have this as a weekly column, but the truth is that a film of the caliber of Philippe Garrel’s J’entends plus la guitare doesn’t really come out very often. Simply unlike anything else out there, the film might not be the most inviting entrée into the ouevre of Garrel (that might be the phenomenal Regular Lovers), but it’s an unforgettable experience, a fragmented, penetrating, honest, human piece of filmmaking. Go to Cinema Village, buy a ticket, and thank us later. And now, I happily give the floor to our own Nick Pinkerton:
By Nick Pinkerton
J’entends plus la guitare (I Can No Longer Hear the Guitar)
Dir. Philippe Garrel, France, 1991, The Film Desk
Is Philippe Garrel ready to “break” in America—or, at least, New York? Last year’s limited release of his opus Regular Lovers was the first stateside distribution he’d received in four decades. Nobody got rich off it, but for the cabal of film obscurantists it screened to, it was an unquestionably major document. Like his contemporary Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, it was a “love letter” to the generation who came of age in the late Sixties and Seventies, accomplished with romance, poignancy, and the sociohistorical breadth of a 19th-century novel (that it’s a generation that’s treated itself to far too many eulogies already does not, I should say, diminish the art).
Now BAMcinématek curator (and longtime Garrel booster) Jake Perlin’s nascent distributor Film Desk is giving the director’s J’entends plus la guitare (I Can No Longer Hear the Guitar) a long-deferred run. It’s a chancy gamble—but the until-recent obscurity of Garrel’s name stateside, his ever-modish sullenness, and his impeccably hip references/collaborators (Cale, Godard, Jean Seberg, Nico) might seem to favor a new generation of kids pretending they’d known about him for years (this is the best-case scenario).
Further evidence that the Nineties might be the greatest film decade: Guitar was finished in 1991, three years after the mausoleum-throated Teutonic chanteuse Nico plopped off her bicycle in Ibiza, dead (keeping an appointment, by most accounts, she’d had for some time). Garrel had spent most of the Seventies with her. Their bodies of work from their time together are inextricable: the cover of her album Desertshore is a still from Garrel’s monumentally inhospitable La Cicatrice interieur (The Inner Scar), in which she and her music prominently feature, alongside the director himself. Together they’d blackened spoons, stabbed veins, and creatively malingered in slag piles of medieval dolor and post-plague barrenness.
Click here to read the rest of Nick Pinkerton’s review of J’entends plus la guitare.
And then, go here.