FOr Louis Garrel, the center of the universe is located at the Cannes Film Festival. “It’s like a particle accelerator, like that place in Switzerland,” he says. Your disappointments are greater, and your joy is greater. He’s calling from Paris, where he’s working on an adaptation of his latest film, The Innocent; his fourth film as director but the first to be broadcast in the galactic-sized Louis Lumière Hall in Cannes. At the time of our conversation, he has 10 days to work out the finer details: “It’s like going back. To school. I used to leave everything until the last minute.”
Garrel—still known outside France for being one of the cornerstones of the implausibly sexy love triangle in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers—is a French film with wet noses and shaggy hair; The son of Nouvelle Vague fan Philippe Jarrell and actress Brigitte C, and godson star of The 400 Blows Jean-Pierre Loud. But even if he understands “the way the game is played” in Cannes, he still feels like he doesn’t feel on the inside: “I get anxious before I go every time. So now I have the tension.” Today, he’s concerned about how to play the sound mix in the giant auditorium. “It’s a good kind of pressure,” he said, then exclaimed with a sharp laugh.
The Innocent is a subtle blend of charged family comedy, satirical flick, and descriptive commentary, all tied to the dry irony that quickly became Garrel’s trademark — or “joke.” French styleHe plays Abel, a widower in Lyon who is concerned when his gunner mother marries a convict to be released from prison. Abel suspects where the latter is getting the money to make her a florist, turns into a bubble gum and begins stalking outside a store The household items that his new father-in-law is supposed to work on.
The story is based on an episode from the life of the 38-year-old, when his mother (his parents divorced) had a prison wedding with “a man named Michel I liked very much”. Why was he inside? “I can’t really remember,” he said shyly. “You know: fun and games.” Was there a similar tension in their relationship as he portrays it in the movie? Avoids. “It is always interesting to meet people from another world. In general, within the framework of family or friendship structures, society is built in such a way that you often do not have the opportunity to get to know people from another walk in life. “
In his four directorial efforts so far, protagonist Garrel has always played the name Abel, which seems to be the kind of alter ego he uses to soften his screen presence — Byronic of Brow and imposing elsewhere — in the Stooge comic. From his bachelor flirtations in his 2015 debut Two Friends to the sequels A Faithful Man and The Crusade (in which he married Abel), the director works with real-life confidants like his ex-partner Golshifteh Farahani and current wife Letitia Casta, it seems to be using his films To explore alternative life paths for himself comically. But he would prefer that this cinematic universe give Garrel its own autonomy: “Rather than saying as an actor, I’m going to live several lives through this character, I’d rather say, No, it’s the character that has many lives.”
This interweaving of autobiography and fiction is what he grew up in, the graceful style in which his father has persisted into the twenty-first century, like a soldier still fighting the Battle of Nouvelle Vag. Garrel’s first acting role was at the age of five in Garrel Sr.’s Les Baisers de Secours in 1989; His father, grandfather, and mother were all acting on him as well, and in his first scene he had to walk his mother into bed with another man. “I didn’t choose to be in the movie,” he says now. “Suddenly, memories became real, I even forgot about the cameras. It was like a strange game with reality, a game that defined my relationship with cinema. As a moviegoer, when I watched films that were not biographical related to the director’s life, I had the impression that they were fake.”
It would have been easy for Garrel to be so surrounded by such an elementary environment that he fails to emerge with an identity of his own. But his rebellious demeanor helped his outstanding film dreamers catch a glimpse of his father soixante-huitard Collection. Setting it up, lovers Eva Green and Michael Pitt alongside clips from the trio in the Bande à part of Jean-Luc Godard, it’s a sad reversal of time that suggests there was something decadent and incest behind the revolution – perhaps the younger generation after all. Attachment to the image, not the action. But at the beginning of the struggle, his father was delighted with the unlikely event of a film about Nouvelle Vague distributed by a Hollywood studio: by MGM called the yellow jacket. ”
Where Garrel is fundamentally different is that his father hates acting. The son shrugged his shoulders: “I don’t know why.” “It’s as if some kids hate spinach or grapes.” Garrel is a natural and commanding performer, as evidenced by the versatile gallery of roles that has brought him together beyond boring Parisian practitioners in his early career, but not apart from his performance as Woody Allen at Rifkin Festival (2020) and a small role in Little Women Directed by Greta Gerwig – Anything in Cinema in English. It should be noted that over the past decade, there have been quite a few historical pretenders: high-end fashion designer Jacques de Pacher in 2014’s Saint Laurent, Robespierre in 2018’s One Nation, One King, and soon-to-be director Patrice Chéreau is in another participant. At Cannes, Forever Young (where Garrel will be directed by his ex-wife Valeria Bruni Tedeschi).
What is impressive is how powerful it is to lend independent life to these known quantities. His portrayal of Jean-Luc Godard makes use of that distinction in the 2017 biographical film Redoubtable, which is somewhat dazed. Although playing the role of the French god of Arthus was “a complete taboo,” Jarrell realized that he could not offer loyalty: “Of course he was a person of extraordinary power. An artist with the ability to do exactly what he wanted, and what he did not want was to become a bourgeois. But you shouldn’t just play him that hard… There was a doubt there, for example.” Portrayed as Godard denouncing the vagaries of the Nouvelle Vague and turning toward Maoism, Garrel beautifully captures his own skin and inertia.
He also played Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish army officer whose false conviction of treason shook the French establishment at the end of the 19th century. He’s conservative in this role, and the 2019 movie, The Officer and the Spy, is fun. But with the #MeToo movement in full voice, it quickly became mired in controversy because of its director: Roman Polanski. Jarrell signed a 2009 petition protesting Polanski’s extradition to the United States to face the 1977 statutory rape charge. But now he insists it’s not his place to speak out in public. His primary interest in filming the film was the story of Dreyfus, he said, due to his Jewish roots, and he was appalled to see the story move into an alien context. But he felt torn: “It’s too painful to talk about it again. There were reasons why the debate was so violent. The direction in which society moves is for the benefit of the world. I belong to this world – a world that is happy to see progress for women.”
Is art more important than the artist? He likes this kind of philosophical atom smasher. Garrel may be hoping The Innocent will get a boost from a particle accelerator, but he insists he’s happy if his movie production operates on a more modest level. Instead of the likes of Godard, dedicated actors and directors look up to them; Film directors such as Jack Tate, John Cassavetes and Nani Moretti. “It is always interesting to see how they put themselves in their films. How they film the scenes they are a part of,” he says. “After I started directing and acting at the same time, I no longer looked at Keaton and Chaplin the same way. How did they manage to execute such complex footage when they didn’t even have a video playback? “
Judging by Abel’s flopped ego, Garrel considers himself from a healthy distance – and these morals are starting to produce a body of work with discreet but promising privacy. “When I start shooting a movie, I always tell the team that we have to avoid doing the usual thing. Making movies is hard, so you always quickly gravitate to doing what other people are doing. But the hardest thing is to succeed in inventing a small gesture, whether it’s technical or narrative.” It’s what you’re always looking for.”