Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Burning Hot Summer (Philippe Garrel, 2012)

Oh, that I had watched a Philippe Garrel film before this. Routinely praised by critics, Garrel has been a major blind spot of mine for some time, so I was happy to get a screener of his latest, A Burning Hot Summer. At least until I watched it; based off Godard's seminal Contempt, Garrel's film tries to use the breakdown of a relationship as a commentary on love, politics and the cinema itself. But Summer lacks any and all of Godard's grace, depth and wit, instead plodding along like the sort of dull, lifeless art film that Contempt so deftly mocks. I hope this is just an aberration for the director and his other work proves more fruitful, but A Burning Hot Summer doesn't make me any more eager to explore the rest of filmography.

Read my full review at Spectrum Culture.

1 comment:

  1. I wrote about this one back in March:


    I think it's a great film, and while I can appreciate that it was a frustrating experience for you, I think your piece is fundamentally flawed insofar as you treat it as a Jean-Luc Godard imitation rather than as a Philippe Garrel film.

    At the risk of sounding like a condescending jackass, I'm not sure you're really equipped to deal with the film; it's tied in such a specific way to his previous three films that it might be hard to make sense of what he's up to here. He's very much stripping away many of the adornments of those films (Lubtchansky's black and white cinematography, Garrel's romantic preoccupation with suicide) and seeing what it's possibe to replace it with. It's a film obsessed with death (Lubtchansky died shortly before production started; Maurice Garrel passed soon after) but also maybe the director's first to move beyond it, and as such strikes me as one of his most profound (or at least most important) works.

    Garrel has always worked in stages, so although Frontier of Dawn is in many ways a reworking of I Can No Longer Hear the Guitar, I think it would only be necessary to watch Wild Innocence, Regular Lovers and Frontier of Dawn to really get what he's up to here. I hope you do--Garrel is, in my and many other people's estimations, one of the greatest living filmmakers.