LOVER FOR A DAY (L’AMANT D’UN JOUR)
(director/writer: Philippe Garrel; screenwriters: Jean-Claude Carriere, Caroline Deruas, Arlette Langmann; cinematographer: Renato Berta; editor: François Gedigier; music: Jean-Louis Aubert; cast: Eric Caravaca (Gilles), Esther Garrel(Jeanne), Louise Chevillote (Ariane), Laetitia Spigarelli(Narrator), Paul Toucang (Matéo); Runtime: 76; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Said Ben Said, Michel Merkt; MUBI; 2017-France-in French with English subtitles-B/W)
“Alluring melodramatic romantic triangle.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
French veteran filmmaker Philippe Garrel (“Jealousy”/”Regular Lovers”) is known for his sexy relationship films questioning the meaning of love and the meaning of fidelity. Garrel is the director and co-writer of this elegantly staged alluring melodramatic romantic triangle. The other writers include Jean-Claude Carriere, Caroline Deruas (Garrel’s wife and Esther’s mother) and Arlette Langmann.
Jeanne (Esther Garrel, real-life daughter of the director) has just been dumped by her Parisian live-in lover Matéo (Paul Toucang) and returns to her philosophy professor father Gilles’s (Éric Caravaca) place. She finds him sleeping with a liberated girl about her age, Ariane (Louise Chevillotte), a former student of his and an agreeable socialite. The trio now room together. Showing that life goes on despite her loss, Jeanne sobs a lot and works to recover after a failed suicide attempt thanks to Ariane, who offers her maternal and sisterly love in her recovery efforts. Out for the evening with Ariane at a nightclub, Jeanne finds herself again when on the dance floor. The moody bar scene photography of Renato Berta is captured even more fully in the last line of a poem by Michel Houellebecq: “the end of the day is so beautiful.” and in the Jean-Louis Aubert ballad “Lorsqu’il Faudra.” The twenty-something Ariane finds herself again when she takes a new lover at the university and Gilles has to reassess his life (something older men having affairs with younger women rarely do). It’s a dreamy mood film whose appealing narrative works well as shot in monochrome, which gives Garrel’s black-and-white images needed intimacy as filmed on the wide-screen.
It’s major flaw is that it works best as a concept film, but lacks enough emotional punch to be a moving experience.
VIEWED ON 6/12/2018 GRADE: B- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/