×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Frontier of Dawn

Having been recently canonized by some critics and auds for his May '68-set slacker story "Regular Lovers," helmer Philippe Garrel may now face excommunication by a goodly chunk of his erstwhile supporters for.

With:
With: Louis Garrel, Laura Smet, Clementine Poidatz, Emmanuel Broche, Olivier Massart, Jerome Robart, Cedric Viera, Vladislav Galard, Gregory Gadebois, Eric Rulliat, Juliette Delegue.

Having been recently canonized by some critics and auds for his May ’68-set slacker story “Regular Lovers,” helmer Philippe Garrel may now face excommunication by a goodly chunk of his erstwhile supporters for “Frontier of Dawn.” A risible slice of pretentious hokum, this love triangle plot with a supernatural angle peddles that covertly misogynist and sadistic old chestnut, that the hottest, most desirable women are self-harming loonies. In France, presence of ascending stars Louis Garrel and Laura Smet, and helmer’s rep, should help pic reap little coin, but frontiers offshore will be harder to conquer.

Pro photographer Francois (helmer’s son Louis, from “The Dreamers” and “Regular Lovers”) arrives at a Parisian apartment to snap rising thesp Carole (Smet, daughter of Nathalie Baye and Johnny Hallyday, recently seen in “Towards Zero”). Although Carole was just recently married to Ed (Eric Rulliat), he’s off in Hollywood all the time, so she and Francois begin a brazen affair — clearly she’s not so much of a star as to merit a paparazzi following.

Moody, disloyal and borderline alcoholic, but sexy and given to having fantasies about impending revolution (and therefore supposedly adorable and “smart” in mind of pic’s target aud), Carole is clearly a merde-load of trouble. But Francois grows infatuated with her, even though he’s too shallow to do anything but laugh off with embarrassment her questions about whether he’d still love her if she went mad.

When Ed comes back from abroad for a while, Carole and Francois backburner their affair, but as soon as hubby is off again she writes her lover letters pleading for him to return. He sensibly ignores them, but when Carole lands in a mental asylum, he’s kind enough to visit her and make a half-hearted, failed effort to help her escape.

Garrel’s stated aim to keep tenor of thesping all-round low-key backfires when Francois seems hardly more bothered about Carole’s committing suicide than he would over his team losing a crucial soccer match. Within a year, he’s bounced back and about to get married and start a family with pretty, stable, but not-too-nice girl Eve (newcomer Clementine Poidatz). Mind you, he’s still a bit of a jerk — his first reaction on hearing Eve is pregnant is to tell her to get an abortion.

Just when pic appears to have settled for being just banal and tedious, it gets silly. Carole starts appearing in Francois’ dreams and mirrors (her entrance is heralded at one point by a clang of doom that would have suited a 1930s horror pic), asking him to join her in the land of the dead. A sensible friend (Cedric Vieira) tries to persuade him it’s just his subconscious sense of guilt producing hallucinations, but the stupid twit is tempted to rejoin his demon lover.

Cast is actually alright, despite handicap of helmer’s call for too much underplaying, with Louis, prettier even than his co-stars, proving a charismatic presence, despite the fact that the character is such a schmuck. Smet, whose own recent stint in rehab gives resonance to her breakdown here, almost persuades that her Carole isn’t a completely self-centered bitch, although considerable realism is lost by fact that even in the darkest hour of her night, her mascara remains immaculately applied. Gamine Poidatz holds up her end just fine.

Also in pic’s favor is fact that it’s not as drawn out or quite as pretentious as “Regular Lovers,” but that’s not saying much. Garrel’s homage to Jean Cocteau and Georges Franju via old-fashioned special effects in the spooky bits comes off as just cack-handed, and actually reaped hearty guffaws from the Cannes press aud on its first projection. (Lusty boos accompanied the closing credits.)

In other hands, story set-up might have had something more resonant to say about how the siren call of insanity blights relationships. But no, here, once again, the straight male desire to punish women for exercising the power of their sexual appeal rears its ugly head, along with a childish attitude that sees commitment and family life as “bourgeois” and therefore bad.

Monochrome lensing by William Lubtchansky apes New Wave grain and contrast, and looks nice the same way ads for men’s aftershave can look good. For the record, pic’s French title was translated on screen as “The Dawn Shore,” not “Frontier of Dawn,” the latter being pic’s English title in all its accompanying publicity material and the Cannes catalog.

Frontier of Dawn

France

Production: A Rectangle Prods., StudioUrania production, with the participation of Canal Plus, Cinecinema, with the support of Eurimages, Cofinova 4, Arte, Programme Media de la Communaute Europeenne, CNC, Region Ile-de-France. Produced by Edouard Weil, Conchita Airoldi. Directed by Philippe Garrel. Screenplay, Garrel, Marc Cholodenko, Arlette Langmann.

Crew: Camera (B&W), William Lubtchansky; editor, Yann Dedet; music, Jean-Claude Vannier; set designer, Mathieu Menut; costume designer, Justine Pearce; sound (Dolby Digital), Rene Levert, Alexandre Abrard, Daniel Dehays. Reviewed at the Cannes Film Festival (competing), May 22, 2008. Running time: 107 MIN.

With: With: Louis Garrel, Laura Smet, Clementine Poidatz, Emmanuel Broche, Olivier Massart, Jerome Robart, Cedric Viera, Vladislav Galard, Gregory Gadebois, Eric Rulliat, Juliette Delegue.

More Film

  • With PGA win, 'Green Book' is

    Oscars: With PGA Victory, 'Green Book' Becomes Best Picture Frontrunner

    Save for a pair of recent back-to-back discrepancies in “The Big Short” and “La La Land,” the Producers Guild’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Theatrical Motion Pictures has been a fairly reliable barometer for the annual Oscar season outcome. At least, ever since both the PGA and film Academy expanded their top categories, sharing the [...]

  • Peter Farrelly30th Annual Producers Guild Awards,

    PGA Awards: 'Green Book' Wins Top Feature Film Award

    “Green Book” has won the Producers Guild’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award as the top feature film of 2018. The 1960s drama-comedy topped “BlacKkKlansman,” “Black Panther” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite,”  “A Quiet Place,” “Roma,” “A Star Is Born” and “Vice. “When you make ‘Dumb and Dumber’ you never expect to get an award,” [...]

  • Netflix HQ LA

    Andy Gruenberg, Veteran Film Executive, Dies at 68

    Veteran film executive Andy Gruenberg, who most recently oversaw theatrical distribution at Netflix, died suddenly on Friday. He was 68. Gruenberg worked on classic films like “Ghostbusters,” “Karate Kid” and “Silverado” while at Columbia Pictures in the 80s and 90s. He then moved to MGM where he served as exec VP of distribution. There he [...]

  • Fyre Festival Caterer Receives Thousands in

    Unpaid Fyre Festival Caterer Raises Thousands in Donations on GoFundMe

    As two Fyre Festival documentaries hit the airwaves, a couple who say their credit was ruined due to the Fyre Festival’s lack of payment for their services have raised $54,381 at time of publication on GoFundMe. Elvis and Maryann Rolle wrote on their page that they catered “no less than 1000 meals per day” in [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Author Tony Mendez arrives at the

    Tony Mendez, Former CIA Officer Depicted in 'Argo,' Dies at 78

    Tony Mendez, the former CIA technical operations officer who orchestrated the 1980 rescue of six American diplomats from Iran and who was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the Academy Award winning film “Argo,” has died. He was 78. Mendez’s book agent, Christy Fletcher, announced the news on Twitter Saturday morning. “Early this morning, Antonio (Tony) [...]

  • Glass Movie

    'Glass' to Rank in Top 3 MLK Debuts With $48 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is on its way to a solid debut with an estimated $48 million for the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. A sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2017’s “Split,” the Universal superhero thriller should bring in around $41 million from 3,841 domestic locations over the Friday through Sunday period. The estimates are [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content