In the Shadow of Love: The Cinema of Philippe Garrel

The Birth of Love

La Naissance de l'amour

Philippe GarrelFrance / Switzerland94 minutes199314AB&WFrench

Feb 22
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Two 1960s film legends, Jean-Pierre Léaud and Lou Castel, star in Garrel's melancholic, sharply observed portrait of two middle-aged friends fumbling through their respective mid-life crises. Actor Paul (Castel) wrestles with his conscience as he contemplates leaving his wife and two children for the much younger woman (Johanna ter Steege, who also starred in Garrel's J'entends plus la guitare) he has been having an affair with; meanwhile, writer Marcus (Léaud) hopes to reconcile with the girlfriend who has just dumped him (Dominique Reymond), but finds himself torn when he meets a beautiful young woman. Featuring a score by John Cale and superb black-and-white cinematography by Raoul Coutard, The Birth of Love "has a compositional beauty that can't be reduced simply to the lighting and framing of shots; it's also a matter of scenic rhythm and emotional orchestration … This isn't a movie to be consumed[:] It's a movie to be tasted and savoured" (Jonathan Rosenbaum).