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...
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Henri de Maublanc,
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 at the police. He smokes opium and talks about revolution with his friend, Antoine, who has an inheritance and a flat where François can stay. François meets Lilie, a sculptor who works at a foundry to support herself. They fall in love. A year passes; François continues to write, talk, smoke, and be with Lilie. Opportunities come to Lilie: what will she and François do?Written by
Seeing Les Amants Reguliers calls immediately for comparison with Bertolucci's movie 'The Dreamers', in my opinion the best film made about the 1968 revolt of students in Paris. Actually director Philippe Garrel does not seem to avoid comparing with his much more famous colleague, sharing the principal actor and even including a direct replica eye-in-viewer-eye about an older film of Bertolucci. And yet, LAR is a different film, and an interesting one.
The story line seems also familiar. The movie starts with long scenes of the 1968 'emeutes', maybe among the best done until now. The film is made in black-and-white, and the perspective of the static camera on one side or the other of the barricade reminds Eisenstein. Then, as in The Dreamers, the action moves in the Parisian flat where the heroes of the defeated revolt make art, smoke drugs, dream, and fall for one other. There is no direct social comment, no real explanation of the background of the revolt. The movie focuses on the psychology of the characters and on the love story between the main characters. It's like a premonition of the process of transition to the establishment that the generation of the 1968 went through, it's just that not all the participants may adapt or survive.
The film is more about the characters than about the events. And it is merely for the style it will be remembered about. The black-and-white cinema is memorable not only in the revolution scenes, but also when looking at the characters evolution. Many sequences are enhanced by a technique that is derived from the silent films movies, with long takes accompanied by a off piano tune. The effect is exquisite. Yet the length of the film is hardly justified, it lasts more than three hours and I doubt that cutting it to only two hours would have been a miss - actually I am convinced it's quite a contrary.
Without raising at the depth and subtlety of Bertolucci's movie LAR is another perspective to remember about one of the more important years in the history of France and of the world in the 20th century.
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