×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

La Naissance de L’Amour

A better title for Philippe Garrel's self-indulgent film would be "Sullen, Unappealing Characters Pontificating on Their Lives and Problems." Confessional, intimate look at middle-aged artistic types adrift remains true to the French auteurist tradition, and Garrel's faith in his actors is palpable. However, only hard-core cinephiles will connect with this orbit of helmer's navel.

With:
Paul ... Lou Castel Marcus ... Jean-Pierre Leaud Ulrika ... Johanna Ter Steege Helene ... Dominique Reymond Fanchon ... Marie-Paul Laval

A better title for Philippe Garrel’s self-indulgent film would be “Sullen, Unappealing Characters Pontificating on Their Lives and Problems.” Confessional, intimate look at middle-aged artistic types adrift remains true to the French auteurist tradition, and Garrel’s faith in his actors is palpable. However, only hard-core cinephiles will connect with this orbit of helmer’s navel.

Narrative unspools in a dreary, workaday Paris (rigorously lensed in b&w by new wave icon Raoul Coutard) against a backdrop of the brewing Gulf War. Basic idea is that love can go out the window from one day to the next, the same way it can fly in without warning.

Paul (Lou Castel), an actor, beds indifferent Ulrika (Johanna Ter Steege), argues with his wife (Marie-Paul Laval), who is about to give birth to their second child, and is a mediocre role model for his adolescent son. Why a dour lunk with nothing going for him should be so attractive to women (including one who’s half his age) is a mystery.

The only live wire in the cast is Jean-Pierre Leaud as Paul’s friend Marcus, a writer who has abandoned his craft in favor of “thinking.” Leaud delivers crazed philosophical monologues and wonders aloud why his g.f. has left him.

Soundtrack is awash with aural distractions in exteriors — a conscious choice by Garrel, who abhors looping and post-syncing. John Cale’s music is fleeting.

La Naissance de L'Amour

(FRENCH-SWISS -- B&W)

Production: A Pan Europeene release of a Why Not, La Sept Cinema (Paris)/Vega Films (Zurich) production, with participation of Canal Plus/Ministry of Culture & Francophonie/SACEM/Departement Federal de l'Interieur (Berne)/SSR/RTSI-Televisione Svizzera. (International sales: Why Not, Paris.) Co-executive producers, Christian Paumier, Pierre-Alain Schatzmann, Pascal Caucheteux, Ruth Waldberger. Directed by Philippe Garrel. Screenplay, Garrel, Marc Cholodenko, Muriel Cerf.

Crew: Camera (b&w), Raoul Coutard; editors, Sophie Coussein, Yann Dedet; music, John Cale; costume design, Laura Travelli; sound, Jean-Pierre Ruh. Reviewed at Club de l'Etoile screening room, Paris, Aug. 27, 1993. (In Rotterdam and Venice (non-competing) fests.) Running time:91 MIN.

With: Paul ... Lou Castel Marcus ... Jean-Pierre Leaud Ulrika ... Johanna Ter Steege Helene ... Dominique Reymond Fanchon ... Marie-Paul Laval

More Film

  • Flesh Out review

    Berlin film review: 'Flesh Out'

    Ignore the awful English-language title: “Flesh Out” is an emotionally rich, sensitively made film about a young woman in Mauritania forced to gain weight in order to conform to traditional concepts of well-rounded beauty before her impending marriage. Strikingly registering the sensations of a protagonist living between the dutiful traditions of her class and the [...]

  • Marighella review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Marighella'

    Does Brazil need a film that openly advocates armed confrontation against its far-right government? That’s the first question that needs to be asked when discussing “Marighella,” actor Wagner Moura’s directorial debut focused on the final year in the life of left-wing insurrectionist Carlos Marighella during Brazil’s ruthless military dictatorship. For whatever one might think of [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    ‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, DreamWorks Animation claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” Ads placed for the fantasy film had an estimated media value [...]

  • Marc Weinstock Mary Daily Paramount

    Paramount Pictures Names Mary Daily Co-President of Marketing, Distribution With Marc Weinstock

    Paramount Pictures has promoted Mary Daily, the current international marketing and home entertainment head, to co-president of worldwide marketing and distribution. Daily will join incoming co-president Marc Weinstock in the role. Variety previously, exclusively reported that Weinstock, former president of Annapurna Films, would be coming to the storied Hollywood lot to replace David Sameth. Both [...]

  • The Favourite Black Panther

    Audience for Best Picture Nominees Most Diverse in Years, Report Shows

    Theatergoers for Academy Awards best picture-nominated films have become younger and more diverse over the past four years, a report released exclusively to Variety showed. Movio, a Vista Group company which specializes in cinema marketing data analytics, said the changes in demographic shifts correspond to the best picture lineup becoming more diverse since the 2015 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content