L’enfant secret (Garrel, 1979)

L’enfant secreat (Philippe Garrel, 1979)

I really hate name-drop comparisons, but for this I really feel compelled to use one; L’enfant secret is a more poetic, less focused Robert Bresson film. The coldness and loneliness of the characters is evident. Despite the two main characters having each other in their lives, they continue to reject each other for no real reason other than their inability to accept happiness. It’s bleak, yes, but it’s reality for some. The scenes where Garrel films the couple together, sharing moments of quiet contact where the lingering camera and the music beckon feelings of sweet, innocent romance are delightful. (In a Bressonian way, the romance doesn’t consist of flirtly exchanges, but hard still embraces instead.) It’s almost as if no matter how hard these two try to be apart (despite thinking they are trying to be together), they actually belong together in a fateful sort of way. It really is a whirlwind of tragedy and self-destruction. If the film didn’t spend so much time hopping to random, uninteresting storylines, it could have been a masterpiece. This will be one I revisit when I’m more familiar with Garrel and I’m sure I’ll love it then.  8/10

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2 Responses to “L’enfant secret (Garrel, 1979)”

  1. I’ve never heard of Garrel — I’ll have to see if I can track down some of his films… Sounds worthwhile!

    • I’ve decided I need to see more 70s-90s French films and outside of Godard, Rivette, and Pialat, I didn’t know what else there was. This guy was recommended to me and so far, so good.

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