Tag Archives: Benoît Régent

Philippe Garrel – J’entends plus la guitare AKA I Don’t Hear the Guitar Anymore (1991)


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Review by Alice Liddel

“J’entends plus la guitare” is dedicated to the memory of Nico, the Swedish model and actress who was director Garrel’s muse, most famous as the blonde Marcello meets at the castle party in “La Dolce Vita”, and the singer with the haunted monotone on the Velvet Underground’s extraordinary “Banana” album. the heroine of the film is a blonde German who, like Nico, turns to drugs – her last appearance is marked by a pun on heroine/heroin (the Velvets’ most famous song), and the Velvet-esque guitar of the title is no longer heard by the hero, or the director. The female is usually signalled in Garrel’s films by music, as if music itself was somehow a feminine principle – the “Je”, therefore, is plausibly the director’s, offering the film as a mea culpa, blaming himself for a death triggered by pure male egotism. Gerard is one of the least likeable characters in European cinema, an emotional vampire who needs to suck the emotional blood out of countless women, leaving them diminished, empty, to save himself from a similar fate Read More »

Alain Tanner – Une flamme dans mon coeur AKA A Flame in My Heart (1987)

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The terrifyingly destructive power of a woman’s sexual obsession provides the compelling subject for this psychological study of a woman’s descent into madness from French filmmaker Alain Tanner. It is the tale of Parisian actress Mercedes who is first seen attempting to break up with the obsessive Arab Johnny, who stalks her until she meets handsome newspaper writer Pierre on the subway and goes with him for an afternoon fling. Before the sweat even dries, she finds herself hopelessly in love with him. Pierre is flattered and encourages her desperate devotion, but soon after their affair begins, he is called off on a business trip leaving the suddenly distraught Mercedes alone with her demons. Though preparing for a new play, she is unable to concentrate and barely able to function without Pierre. She quits the production, locks herself in Pierre’s apartment and quietly begins falling apart until he returns. Read More »