×

Venice Film Review: ‘Jealousy’

Philippe Garrel's slight but watchable comedy-drama has an unexpected emotional warmth.

With:

Louis Garrel, Anna Mouglalis, Rebecca Convenant, Olga Milshtein, Esther Garrel, Manon Kneuse, Julien Lucas.

Although Philippe Garrel’s “Jealousy” doesn’t stretch the Gallic helmer’s thematic canvas much beyond his usual preoccupations — lovesick Parisians, la vie boheme and his lushly tousle-headed son, actor Louis Garrel — there are a few new tints on the palette that brighten this slight but watchable black-and-white pic. More tightly scripted than Garrel’s usual rambles, the comedy-drama also has an unexpected emotional warmth, thanks partly to a cute if slightly sentimental subplot about a father and daughter, fetchingly thesped by Louis Garrel and Olga Milshtein. It’s also blessedly brief at 76 minutes, which will only enhance its exportability.

In the opening minutes, Louis (Louis Garrel, in his fourth collaboration with his director dad) bails on his relationship with Clothilde (Rebecca Convenant), leaving her to raise their 8-year-old daughter, Charlotte (Milshtein, adorable), so he can shack up with clearly-nothing-but-trouble Claudia (the always compelling contralto-voiced Anna Mouglalis). Claudia is also, like Louis, an actor, although her career is more theoretical at the moment as she hasn’t worked in several years.

Although Louis protests to Clothilde that he’s not earning anything from his latest play, somehow the two of them appear to have enough money to afford a romantically seedy garret apartment. Louis flirts with a fellow cast member (Manon Kneuse) at the theater, but resists sharing anything more than a kiss with her. Claudia, however, has far fewer scruples about infidelity, adopting what some might consider to be a stereotypically French attitude that it doesn’t count if you don’t tell. As she tells one pickup at a bar (Julien Lucas), she likes secrets.

Popular on Variety

It’s a line echoed elsewhere by Charlotte, in a particularly delicately handled scene in which Clothilde quizzes her daughter about her first meeting with Claudia; Convenant projects with minute subtlety a mother’s almost-convincing attempt to appear jolly to her child while dying on the inside with grief and jealousy. The script by Garrel and regular collaborators Caroline Deruas, Arlette Langmann and Marc Cholodenko sprinkles in a fair few graceful parallelisms like this throughout, and yet the ensemble infuses the dialogue with a spontaneous breeziness, like they’re making it all up on the spot.

That loosey-goosey shambolic quality is Garrel’s schtick, and according to taste, it can seem charming in a new New Wave sort of way, particularly for vocal fans of his 2005 effort “Regular Lovers,” or infuriatingly self-indulgent (as it was in 2011’s hot mess “A Burning Hot Summer”). Somehow the effect is more endearing here, partly due to the pic’s brevity, and partly due to the novel-for-a-Garrel-movie likability of at least some of the characters on display, particularly Charlotte and Louis’ wry little sister, Esther (played by the thesp’s own sister, Esther Garrel). It’s almost enough to make one forgive all the name-dropping about Mayakovsky, whose life is a fetish for the pretentious, resolutely obnoxious Claudia. The casting of more Garrel family members enhances the subtext that the pic, per press notes, is a film a clef reworking of what happened when Maurice, Philippe’s father (and therefore Louis and Esther’s grandfather), left his mother for another woman, with Charlotte standing in for the young Philippe.

Refined widescreen monochrome lensing by venerable veteran Willy Kurant, who shot Godard’s “Masculine Feminine” back in 1966, adds classy luster.  Jean-Louis Aubert’s tinkling, dippy score is less of an asset.

Venice Film Review: 'Jealousy'

Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (competing), Sept. 4, 2013. Running time: 76 MIN. Original title: "La Jalouisie"

Production:

(France) A Said Ben Said — SBS Prods. presentation. (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Said Ben Said.

Crew:

Directed by Philippe Garrel. Screenplay, Garrel, Caroline Deruas, Arlette Langmann, Marc Cholodenko. Camera (B&W, widescreen, 35mm), Willy Kurant; editor, Yann Dedet; music, Jean-Louis Aubert; production designer, Manu de Chauvigny; costume designer, Justine Pearce; sound (Dolby Digital), Guillaume Sciama; assistant director, Paolo Trotta.

With:

Louis Garrel, Anna Mouglalis, Rebecca Convenant, Olga Milshtein, Esther Garrel, Manon Kneuse, Julien Lucas.

More Film

  • Steven Garza appears in Boys State

    Apple and A24 Partner to Buy Documentary 'Boys State' Out of Sundance

    Apple and A24 have partnered to buy the Sundance documentary “Boys State,” Variety has confirmed. The sale, for $10 million, represents one of the biggest pacts ever for a non-fiction film. “Boys State,” a political coming-of-age story, follows annual rite of passage in which a thousand teenage boys from across Texas come together to build [...]

  • Sandy Powell Costume Design The Irishman

    Mayes C. Rubeo, Sandy Powell Lead Below-the-Line Surge in Women Oscar Noms

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences was quick to point out on Jan. 13 as the Oscar nominations were announced, that “A record 62 women were nominated, almost one-third of this year’s nominees.” Twenty of those below-the-line nominations were for women and minorities, including Sandy Powell, who secured her 15th nomination for “The [...]

  • Saoirse Ronan Awards Season Fashion

    Saoirse Ronan's Stylist Elizabeth Saltzman Creates 'Strong, Feminine Woman'

    Elizabeth Saltzman wanted Saoirse Ronan’s “Little Women” press tour looks to reflect her character: “A strong, feminine woman with a little masculinity mixed in.” In designing a Golden Globes dress, Saltzman spoke about Ronan with the Celine team. “We talked about Saoirse being effortless, sensual and cool — and not trying too hard,” she says. [...]

  • 1917 Movie

    George MacKay Talks '1917' and Filming in the Trenches

    George MacKay delivers a star-making performance in “1917.” After making his film debut at age 10 in the 2003 live-action “Peter Pan,” he played occasional film and TV roles and realized at age 19 “acting is what I wanted to do.” Since then, he’s appeared in an earlier WWI saga, “Private Peaceful,” and played Viggo [...]

  • Palm Springs Sundance

    Neon, Hulu Chasing Worldwide Rights Deal on Andy Samberg's 'Palm Springs'

    Tom Quinn’s Neon and streamer Hulu are looking to partner on a multi-million dollar, worldwide rights deal for Andy Samberg’s Sundance comedy “Palm Springs,” sources told Variety. Neon would take the film out theatrically while Hulu would retain rights for streaming customers around the world, said the insiders familiar with talks. One report valued the [...]

  • Oscar Menu to Be Almost All

    Oscar Menu to Be Almost All Plant-Based

    The Oscars are getting greener. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Monday that it will be offering entirely plant-based menus at today’s Oscar Nominees Luncheon and then in the Dolby Theatre lobbies prior to the 92nd Academy Awards on Feb. 9. The post-ceremony Governors Ball will be 70% plant-based, and 30% [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content