Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cinema: Regular Lovers

On successive nights this weekend I fell asleep while attempting to watch Regular Lovers, a retort by French film maker Philip Garrel to Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers. Both star Garrel’s son Louis and both concern the failed Paris uprising of students and workers in 1968. While Bertolucci’s film shows three lovers participating in sexual games oblivious to the fact that outside the city is burning, the protagonists of Regular Lovers are more engaged, throwing Molotov cocktails at les flics and doing their best to avoid military service. At three hours long, Garrel is in no hurry to tell the story (a word used advisedly given that the attempt to impose a narrative is of course a knee-jerk bourgeois desire for order), instead he lingers on empty streets and passive faces. While I admire the seriousness of the enterprise and the blunt refusal to pander to the stupid fucked up aesthetic of Hollywood cinema, I found it deathly dull, to such an extent that I dozed off not once but twice. I was left wondering whether there is space in contemporary culture for the type of young intellectual that populates the film. Does anybody sit around stoned talking about poetry and the working class anymore or is everyone too busy writing blogs and more generally becoming fodder for the information technology industry?

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