Phillipe Garrell’s black and white paean to the French almost-revolution of 1968 is the very definition of a critic’s darling, inspiring journalists and festival juries to heights of hyperbolic praise seemingly exacerbated by the marginalization of Garrel’s oeuvre.
Shot as if it has been unearthed from a Parisian artist’s loft, Regular Lovers stars Garrell’s son as a “pure soul” — a poet and revolutionary — in a low-amplitude memoir of the last gasp of pure idealism for the French left. Garrel’s is an anti-kinetic approach, his distanced camera (particularly during the street battle scenes), completely unadorned backdrops and sparse dialogue is a sort of un-cinema. Finely grained (to an almost maddening degree) its classical achronological approach suggests a continuation of previous generations’ struggle, predating cinematic conventions. It’s a period film that marries period aesthetics and modern sensibilities…in other words it’s a film that looks like it was made in 1968 and seems to know it. In calls attention to its inconspicuousness, it boarders on the theatrical; characters interact in front of bare walls and streets free of the particularities of signage or commerce.
Venice film fest press conference, trailer, and an unduly fawning essay by critic Kent Jones.
Wears its idealism on its sleeve and brandishes said sleeve for 175 minutes of poetically striving earnestness that on occasion lives up to its promise.