1968 and 1969 in Paris: during and after the student and trade union revolt. François is 20, a poet, dodging military service. He takes to the barricades, but won't throw a Molotov cocktail... See full summary »
Anna has just left Paul who, annihilated by the separation, moves back with his father in Paris. His younger brother Jonathan, a casual student, still lives in his father's apartment and ... See full summary »
A young film director is turning a movie with his friend Christa (reminds us of the real-life relationship between Garrel and Nico). In the film-within-the-film there are two couples, one ... See full summary »
Four chapters based on the birth of a 'secret child', or a film, with chapter titles: "La séction Césarienne" (Caesarian section: a descriptive detail introducing the mother); "Le dernier ... See full summary »
Henri de Maublanc,
Fraudulent fluff posing as an enigmatic masterwork
This threadbare tale of a photographer's amorous misadventures demonstrates that pretentious sixties-style, cinematic vanity projects still survive in twenty-first century France. Shot in self-consciously 'artistic' B&W, the opening sequence depicts the poetically rumpled Francois arriving to shoot some publicity stills of a young married actress, Carole, whose film-maker husband is absent in Hollywood. Despite Carole's lack of any discernible charisma, Francois falls under her spell, and they embark on a supposedly obsessive love affair. It's soon apparent that the film is going to be a slow-motion train-wreck, since the director spends far too much time on tedious shots of the couple asleep or staring moodily into the distance, while neglecting to develop his characters or their unconvincing relationship. Consequently it seems somewhat capricious when Carole suddenly suffers a breakdown, sets fire to her apartment, and is consigned to an asylum where she writhes around theatrically in a straitjacket.
After her release, there is a sequence of scenes which illustrates the arbitrary, lazy nature of the entire script. Carole tells Francois that she's going to reconcile with her husband, and then, with a cringe-inducing bout of over-acting, returns to her hotel room to drown her sorrows in a bottle of gin. Francois tries seeking solace with a new love interest, but memories of his old romance undermine his mental stability, and drive him on to the melodramatic destiny that awaits him.
"Frontier of the Dawn" makes even less sense on the screen than it does on paper, and director Garrel requires his son to do little more than adopt stock romantic poses in the main role of Francois. As a result, it's easy to see why the Cannes Festival audience greeted the film's producers with whistles of derision for wasting their time with such a pompous piece of puerile piffle.
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