I Can No Longer Hear the Guitar Screen 96 of 13 reviews

I Can No Longer Hear the Guitar

1991

I Can No Longer Hear the Guitar Poster
  • There’s a unique rawness in this impossible love story to which he’d repeatedly return. Here, however, fragility and emotional intensity are at their peaks, with deeply moving performances from Johanna ter Steege as Nico-figure Marianne and Benoît Régent as Garrel’s melancholy stand-in Gerard.

  • J’entends plus la guitare is an intimate, unadorned roman à clef quietly but intensely covering an expanse of years in the relationship between Marianne (the extraordinary Johanna ter Steege) and Gérard (Benoit Régent). These figures offer analogues for Garrel and Nico, the actress and musician who was the director’s lover and collaborator throughout the 1970s... it is a tough, minimalist, bittersweet and clear-eyed dissection of various moments in the life of the insular couple.

  • This quiet, stark love story, from 1991, is Philippe Garrel’s most radical attempt at confessional melodrama... Holding tight to his characters with long takes and closeups, capturing them only at the breaking points in their lives, Garrel balances a hypnotic romanticism with the frightening lurch of unsteady emotions. Leaping effortlessly, audaciously ahead in time, the fractured form embodies Garrel’s themes: the speed of life passing, the inescapable burden of memory.

  • Both Emergency Kisses and I Can No Longer Here the Guitar deal with the tension between ideas and the world. The ideas in question are rational approaches to understanding the characters' own romantic longings and dilemmas. Garrel's magic is the use of his camera to observe these dilemmas and the struggles of characters to make sense of their situations and emotions.

  • With the aid of Marc Cholodenko's extraordinarily eloquent dialogue, J'entends plus la guitare turns into a surprisingly moving, philosophical, even chaste chamber piece about feelings and the passage of time... J'entends plus la guitare is a posthumous tribute to a magnificent, beloved but ultimately doomed soul. It manages to assume this role without the slightest hint of vulgarity or sensationalism. Such restraint is possible only for the very greatest of filmmakers.

  • The film denies the audience traditional entry points (likeable characters, narrative development, a clearly demarcated timeline) and its pacing is (intentionally) deadly, yet it’s an utterly immersive piece of work. Garrel’s nakedly personal disappointment bleeds into an unsentimental elegy for an elegantly wasted generation. Instead of shallow self-pity, he gives us a melancholy deep enough to drown in.

  • Kneeling before his seated beloved, [Gerard] contentedly presses his lips to hers—and then the clatter of her piss hitting water interrupts. I haven’t seen anything in movies that affects me quite this way: it is rude and ridiculous and really real. It’s the old harmony that Garrel—or Gerard—can’t forget, which underlays everything after.

  • The meaning of love, the mystery of women, life, and all that: Garrel finds it, everything, in the faces, bodies, and words of his actors. If not the greatest movie we’ll see this year—though it’s a strong early candidate—J’entends will surely prove the most tenderly played. For the rest of its trim, entrancing run time, the movie contemplates its concepts as embodied in the daily existence of its bohemian Parisians.

  • What is so singular and ecstatic about Garrel's cinema is that this feeling, this sense, is not merely the summation of a story's themes but literally the evocation from the film's form itself. The importance of spelling out characters and plot is totally eclipsed when one can see the power and the wounded, personal sensibility in even the most non sequitur shot, or cut-away, the most elliptical dialog or argument, and here in such a quotidian but utterly devastating final gesture.

  • Garrel's greatest and toughest film is probably J'Entends plus la guitar. Guitare is set across a long span of time, although we never know exactly how long. There are no period clothes or furnishings, just a series of ellipses that poetically suggest the way that life moves on against the current of a past that refuses to go away. All events in this film seem to be happening at once in a suspended, crystal state.

  • Garrel strips almost everything away from this story except the barest bones... There is so much fiction off-screen here that, when it does appear on-screen, it assumes an unprecedented force and gravity. I think of the moment when Marianne returns to Gérard, the only happy moment in the film, when sweet music plays, and Garrel's camera, for the one and only time in the film, moves gently towards the smiling faces of these lovers, in a gentle and beautiful inter-cutting movement.

  • It is neither a film about passion nor even the elation of love; like Emergency Kisses, it is more an essay in abiding love and romantic forgiveness, an idea that belatedly forges a seemingly downbeat ending into a mutedly but inevitably happy one.

  • Garrel avoids bathos and maintains a rigorous formalism through poetic elision, his jump cuts and brief, enigmatic shots often conveying more than Marc Cholodenko's cerebral dialogue.

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