Le berceau de cristal (1976)
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I enjoyed the mystical imagery and mood of "La Cicatrice Interieure" ("The Inner Scar"), a previous collaboration between singer-actress Nico and director Phillippe Garrel. But "Le Berceau de Cristal" ("The Birthplace of Crystal") is nearly unbearable. Thankfully, it's short for a feature.
The film seems intent to treat people as still-life paintings. Most of the footage is lingering shots of actresses Nico, Dominique Sanda and Anita Pallenberg sitting in dim rooms. Garrel himself also appears here and there. Reading, smoking, brushing hair, writing poetry, fingering harmonium and snorting cocaine are among the showcased activities, but the cast mostly just gazes into the distance. Deep in somber thought. There is no discernible plot, and no words beyond a few overlaid, morose poems from Nico. The first word is heard over 20 minutes into the movie, and extended patches are entirely silent. Elsewhere, the Krautrock band Ash Ra Tempel rolls through various organ-based drones that are less than captivating. A "shock" ending just seems like a pretentious, art-film cliche. But admittedly, I saw a rather poor-quality bootleg and would like to find a better copy someday.
I suppose one way of looking at the dreamlike and enigmatic film "Le Berceau de Cristal" is that the people we see in the film are simply models for an artist(some of whose artwork we see), luxuriant and relaxed in their poses.(Or maybe they are just waiting for somebody.) The only words we hear are from a young woman(Nico) reciting her poetry which is the sole amount of action until the moment that stops the movie literally in its tracks. So, while there is an ending, there is no beginning.
Surprisingly, "Le Berceau de Cristal" is an oddly hypnotizing film but then I have never had any problem with looking at beautiful women. Admittedly, your liking this film may depend on your opinion of 70's progressive rock. In any case, your tolerance may vary.
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