In luminous black & white, Philippe Garrel’s affectionate, dreamlike elegy to youthful idealism laid waste in the aftermath of the 1968 Parisian student riots is an effective rebuttal to Bertolucci’s sex-besotted The Dreamers.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Regular Lovers is Philippe Garrel’s ode to the revolutionary aspirations of his own generation, the young artists and intellectuals who seemed, for a brief moment in 1968, to hold the future in their hands. His epic romantic evocation of the era recalls the New Wave classics in its luminous blackand-white austerity. (It’s an effective rebuttal to Bertolucci’s sex-besotted The Dreamers, which covered the same events and likewise starred Garrel’s son Louis in the lead role.) When the revolution fails to materialise, Louis, a 20-year-old poet, falls into a life of dissipation as a house guest of his wealthy friend Antoine. He also falls in love, with Lilie, a young sculptor. Garrel recreates the student riots he actually filmed at the time, in a bravura, half-hour sequence of burning cars, chaotic battles and police pursuits. Just as persuasive is his deconstruction of May 1968’s hangover and the retreat of disillusioned youth into sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.
“Sublimely beautiful… an affectionate, dreamlike elegy to youthful idealism laid waste.” — Michael Chaiken, Film Comment