EMERGENCY KISSES (Philippe Garrel, 1989)

Mathieu, who is played by Philippe Garrel, the director of this black-and-white film, is a film director. His upcoming project is semi-autobiographical; he has decided to cast someone other than his wife, Jeanne, in the role of his wife Jeanne. Jeanne is upset. “Don’t you want to see us together?” she asks Mathieu, adding: “[T]hat’s all that love is. It’s seeing one another at the same time.” As this extraordinary scene progresses, with Jeanne on-camera and Mathieu off-, plain Jeanne gradually becomes increasingly beautiful—partly, at least, the result of her growing, and glowing, vulnerability. We think: If Jeanne did play herself in her husband’s film, his requiring her vulnerability in order to associate beauty with her would infuriate her. And the same might be said for Brigitte Sy, Garrel’s wife at the time, who plays Jeanne, vis-à-vis Garrel! Yet the complexity of this opening passage is that it encompasses all this sensitive/insensitive matter.
     Les baisers de secours, written by Garrel and “dialogist” Marc Cholodenko (Lisa’s father), also includes in its cast, playing Mathieu’s father and mother, Garrel’s father, Maurice, and now deceased mother, Yvette Etiévant, each an actor for a half-century, as well as Garrel and Sy’s five-year-old son, Louis, playing Mathieu and Jeanne’s son—this, today’s star, who is blond in this film. In the course of the action, Mathieu and Jeanne separate; with a lurch forward of the narrative, they are reconciled. “Why must a story end?” Jeanne asks. “Everyone wants it to last, but it ends”—as would the Garrels’ marriage.
     Garrel’s style, fusing documentary and fiction, resembles cinéma-vérité (think Cassavetes’ Shadows, 1959, or Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore, 1973). As a marital study it is exceptionally fine—but nowhere near so great as the Rossellinis’ Voyage in Italy (1953).

B(U)Y THE BOOK

MY BOOK, A Short Chronology of World Cinema, IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM THE SANDS FILMS CINEMA CLUB IN LONDON. USING EITHER OF THE LINKS BELOW, ACCESS THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THIS BOOK, FROM WHICH YOU CAN ORDER ONE OR MORE COPIES OF IT. THANKS.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dennis+Grunes&x=14&y=16

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dennis+Grunes&x=14&y=19

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s