Tag Archives: Johanna ter Steege

Philippe Garrel – La naissance de l’amour AKA The birth of love (1993)


29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

A dispassionate and bedraggled middle-aged actor named Paul (Lou Castel) bids a polite farewell to the lady of the house, Hélène (Dominique Reymond) before setting out into the street, accompanied by his solemn and equally impassive host Markus (Jean-Pierre Léaud) to the local convenience store to purchase a pack of cigarettes before saying goodbye to his old friend for the evening. Seeking to break the pensive silence of their evening walk, Paul steers their idle conversation into a conduit for personal reflection on Markus’ seemingly life-altering moment when he first met Hélène, a question that Markus – perhaps betraying an insecurity over the tenuous state of his relationship with her – responds to the question with initial, guarded skepticism, before proceeding to tell the genial anecdote of Hélène’s forwardness in her suggestive, inviting remark that had serve to validate their coy, thinly veiled pursuit of mutual seduction during their second encounter. However, a succeeding conversation between the couple reveals Hélène’s increasing apathy towards the cultivation of their relationship as Markus attempts to elicit a validation of her love for him to no avail, disguising their failed, awkward intimacy through the mundane rituals of the kitchen and random comments about the war. Read More »

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


29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

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 »