Lover for a Day Screen 17 articles

Lover for a Day


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  • Philippe Garrel’s venerable mode of personal filmmaking exalts intimate life as fragmented melodrama, but his latest film plays more like an unintentional self-parody. . . . The movie is methodically sexual but emotionally remote, and the romantic entanglements are neither self-revealing nor self-deprecating—they’re as detached as an equation.

  • Defiantly independent French director Philippe Garrel continues to question how to love, be loved and overcome the inevitable disappointment when betrayal occurs in “Lover for a Day,” an alluring and very elegantly crafted — though largely predictable — romantic dramedy.

  • Sometimes Garrel's self-important tone can be his undoing. If there is something that must be said about Lover For a Day, and all of Garrel's films (apart from the obvious facts of their being beautifully acted and gorgeously shot), it's that they are achingly sincere. And that, in a sullied world, is indeed something.

  • Philippe Garrel’s filmography has doubled as a form of family psychoanalysis, looking at his father, himself and son Louis. Now it’s daughter Esther’s time to take the lead in this typically gorgeous widescreen black-and-white — non-fans of his super-Gallic adultery dramas need not apply.

  • Everyone here is on the make or worried their partner is, which can be bleakly funny if you’re in the market to laugh at e.g. this blunt exchange between two men: “Fidelity, how did that go?” “Badly.” Lover traffics in a (there’s no real other way to put this, reductive though it may be) extremely French conception of relationships as inevitably prone to dissolution regardless of if/when (and it’s almost inevitably going to be the latter) infidelity enters the equation.

  • A delectable wisp of a film about love versus desire and young love versus mature love, Lover for a Day (L’Amant d’un jour) proves that, for half a century, Philippe Garrel has remained true to his roots with youthful panache. (He was born in 1948 and made his first feature at the age of 19.) While not quite as lilting and affecting as 2015’s In The Shadow Of Women, this Directors Fortnight premiere knows what it’s doing and does it well.

  • With the help of an instructive narration, the film moves stealthily through a short block of time and leaves no embarrassing detail un-dredged. Information is gathered and used as a bargaining chip between allies, but the film never really moves into the terrain of theatrical double-crossing. It’s careful and poised cinema that hangs on every precious syllable. It’s ideas are deeply rooted within words and faces, there for the taking but never just handing over anything unbidden.

  • Garrel once again proves he is nearly alone in continuing the French New Wave’s revolution of creating celluloid myths from mere bedrooms and cafes. Lover for a Day, his newest, one of his most simple, is a lithe, splendid picture, dazzling in its clarity, direct emotional resonance and condensed storytelling.

  • The story is quotidian, but the performances have a low-key psychological charge, and the images—exquisitely shadowed black-and-white 35mm— give the narrative a timelessness that is precisely the point of Garrel’s enterprise.

  • In Garrel’s third black-and-white meditation on jealousy, this time featuring a stunning young actress named Louise Chevillotte and Garrel’s own daughter Esther, the spells of sustained breathable time have become a little more compact but no less beautiful or wondrously close to lived existence.

  • The French veteran spins an equally economical tale around the shifting bonds formed between a young woman spurned, her academic father, and his new girlfriend of the same age, the luminous camerawork picking out windows and doors, sliding down facades and along buildings and corridors, and alighting on bodies—dancing, naked, wracked by emotion. The way Garrel positions love between the anguished and the matter of fact may be entirely familiar by now, but is ravishing all the same.

  • The film is distinguished by its immersion into the desires and contemplations of young women; we're no longer in their shadow, as it were. Ariane's yearning to be sexually adventurous within a monogamous relationship and Jeanne's longing for the man who broke up with her are dilemmas that Garrel treats with equal sensitivity and focus, and while each woman winds up on opposite ends of fulfillment, the film skirts any trace of moralism. Desire remains as mysterious and contradictory as ever.

  • There’s a casual mastery to latter-day Philippe Garrel that reveals a filmmaker who knows his craft inside and out and knows how to achieve the maximum effect with the simplest means. Even a shot of three characters sitting around a kitchen table (of which there are quite a few here) becomes a rich study in human interaction under Garrel’s gaze; and as for the closeups, they are, as usual, painterly, probing, and mesmerizing.

  • I’m a lifelong sucker for Garrel, but I’m filled with a special admiration in the face of the ‘trilogy of female desire’ formed by Jealousy, In the Shadow of Women and now Lover for a Day. Using a 75 minute, black-and-white, widescreen format across the series, Garrel and his phalanx of writers compress the usual dynamics of his films, finding new tones of melodrama and comedy alongside the usual melancholia. They are perfect movies.

  • Garrel fills the wide screen with a ravishment of tones, from inkiest black to crystalline white and every imaginable gray in between. There’s a deceptive casualness to his visuals. Every image looks harmonious without being fastidious, which means that you see the picture rather than the intention. Yet even when you see the thought behind his images, the gentle disorder of his characters’ lives, with their patched walls and messes, creates an inviting informality that strengthens his realism.

  • At first sight, Lover for a Day might seem like a collection of moments, emphasized by a superbly economic editing that lets go of transitions. This simplicity is deceptive. Philippe Garrel creates not really a narrative arc, but a narrative braid: Jeanne can only find personal redemption through Ariane’s journey. It is a story of sacrifice, and in stories of sacrifice the casual moments tend to guard minor revelations.

  • People make mistakes, blame each other and (perhaps too rarely) themselves, but Garrel's late films feel like perpetual acts of forgiveness from an omniscient POV of hindsight, using the the slightest distance to reveal the innocence in his characters weaknesses, and the poignant beauty in their foolishness. Garrel's cinema is at once one of (painfully) regrets and (transcendently) no regrets.

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