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Le révélateur (1968)

 -  Drama  -  1968 (France)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 268 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 8 critic

A 4-year-old child is the element from and around which the action develops, and brings sentiments and emotions to light. The French word "révélateur"/developper describes the product to develop or "reveal" film negatives.)



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Title: Le révélateur (1968)

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Complete credited cast:
Stanislas Robiolles ...
The Child
Laurent Terzieff ...
The Father
Bernadette Lafont ...
The Mother


A 4-year-old child is the element from and around which the action develops, and brings sentiments and emotions to light. The French word "révélateur"/developper describes the product to develop or "reveal" film negatives.)

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1968 (France)  »

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Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Le contrôle de l'univers (1998) See more »

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12 July 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This movie is in black and white and there is no sound whatsoever, no soundtrack even. Apparently Henri Langlois, the eminence grise of the French New Wave was fond of playing silent movies at the Cinematheque Francaise without the intertitles, or foreign movies without subtitles because he wanted people to concentrate on the images. That after all is the unique feature of film, the moving image. So Garrel bought into this and created some films which were just telling a story with image, to do that you have to be pretty talented, you can't pretend you're good by layering Bach's Matthaus Passion over some hyperedited pap.

Garrel made Le Révélateur after it was clear that the 1968 revolution in Paris was grounding to a halt. He went to Germany where some of the revolutionaries had ended up in exile.

It's pretty haunted by the spectre of persecution, the family are always on the run from something or someone, although we don't ever see what that is. it's mostly shot at night with large spotlights trained on the participants. So Le Revelateur means The Revealer, basically the child is being shown somehow as being the key to the future, in the first scene he's actually holding a key in his hand. Perhaps Garrel is referring to the redemptive powers of parenthood, or to the lack of guile or immoral sophistication, and the protean nature of children. Or perhaps he was saying that the revolution would have to wait till '88. Bad luck PG even '08 has been and gone.

Several times he's trying to show us things from a child's point of view, an argument between the parents is shown as a theatrical scene on a stage, with the child as a sole audience member.

The films strangeness, I found out afterwards, is partly due to the fact that Garrel had the cast on LSD when shooting this (excepting the child).

What fans of cinema with absolutely no appreciation for the politics or existential cinema will admire is the camera-work, which is very clever indeed at points. He has the family running through a field with long grass and diving to the floor as if a machine gun were firing every few seconds. Halfway through the sequence the camera starts to duck down with them as well, so you feel like you're running with the family. Sometimes the camera and the action separate like ice dancers, to meet up again after a little while. Reminded me a little of a Jancso movie.

If you are easily offended you will clearly not enjoy the scene where the bible is used as toilet paper.

If you want to have music playing whilst you see this, personally I'm fine without, but it was making me think a little of Arvo Part's spiegel im spiegel.

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