Regular Lovers

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81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 16

70%

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User Ratings: 2,740
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Movie Info

Touted in many circles as a response to The Dreamers (2003) -- Bernardo Bertolucci's ode to Paris in May 1968 -- Philippe Garrel's Regular Lovers (aka Les Amants Réguliers) explores the same events cinematically but undertakes a wholly unique aesthetic and temporal approach. The director follows his central characters, a young man named François and his clique of friends, as they experience the aftermath of the events and grapple with their attempts to understand what has just occurred. Garrel's familiarity with The Dreamers came by default; his son, Louis, starred in that earlier work, and plays François in this film.

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Critic Reviews for Regular Lovers

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (9)

  • Garrel gives an original artistic form to his rueful view of his own youthful illusions.

    Oct 30, 2017 | Full Review…
  • This tender portrait of late-1960s French youth stars Louis Garrel as François, a 20-year-old Parisian struggling through the fires of revolutionary promise and its smoldering remains.

    Jan 26, 2007 | Rating: 4/5
  • Not much happens, but the director keeps our attention nevertheless.

    Jan 19, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Regular Lovers isn't a folly-of-youth story that aches with emotion, like Au Revoir, Les Enfants or The Squid And The Whale. It's drier, and simpler. You are there. Iris out.

    Jan 19, 2007 | Rating: B

    Noel Murray

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Garrel is not just an artless aesthete, he is unexpectedly and intensely romantic -- imagining and realizing a character who can die for love.

    Jan 16, 2007
  • It's a lethargic, meandering picture that takes a largely uncritical view of its narcissistic characters.

    Jul 22, 2006 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Guardian
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Regular Lovers

  • May 23, 2009
    Les Amants Reguliers is a slice of French new wave in the 2000s. Phillipe Garrel's exploration, interpetration, re-creation of the golden age of French cinema, an homage and a love letter. Shot in exhuberant black and white, the film boasts almost magical composition and lighting, as well as an inequivocal New Wave pace. Anyone familiar with this movement will automatically feel identification and nostalgia. It reinvigorates the practice of deconstructing life in smaller and bigger pieces and putting together this alternative, but very real, understanding of it as cinematic truth. Garrel's concern is to reflect this truth. That is why the film is poetic but also crude at times. LAR is a contemplation of the May 68 revolution, but it mostly concentrates on the aftermath. Antoine and his friends, initially enthusiastic about producing change, about making their ideas prevail and winning the battle against the system, must face the disappointment of defeat and the challenge of real life. They were, perhaps, so centered on "the revolution" they never came up with a life project or a plan B. All they do is smoke opium and listen to music, finding moments of rapture that only enhance the emptiness of the rest of the day. Each of them seeks a separate escape, but each of them is a monumental waste of potential, dreams, and actions. In that sense, this film is tinted with sadness through and through. The epicenter of it all is Francois, played by Louis Garrel. He's a poet and a dreamer. He falls in disgrace along with the Revolution, but finds a lifesaver and a motivation in Lilie, a wide-eyed sculptress. They promise to teach each other things and accompany each other. They become partners and they fall deeper and deeper in love, but soon enough their own inconsistencies, the very ones that led them into their existential mess, surface to redefine their priorities. The ending is beautiful. Garrel structured it as a divine ascension. Francois, Antonie, Lilie, and all their friends, walk, from the beginning of the film, into a dark dead end street. What makes it special is the selection of events, the words, and the obvious nostalgia and empathy that Garrel feels for them. The choice of his son to play Francois was very accurate. Louis Garrel is a very talented actor, completely in tune with his misguided character and with his struggle to find happiness. The entire run is a bold one. Garrel does many unusual things that require patience, but in doing them he entices fascination and complete resonance with what is happening on screen. There are many long takes of students in barricades, burning cars and throwing bottles. For some reason, even in spite of their length they work. In a way, because there are many silences and extended takes, Garrel almost invites us to think, re-imagine, reflect, discuss. 3 hours long and not a second of boredom -for me-. An example of a filmmaker coming to terms with his past and his style, and a film so comprehensive of his life that it is difficult for any other human being not to find vague echoes of his/her own ideas, opinions, feeling, experiences, desires, if they will only sit still long enough to watch the entire thing. In whole, a very human film, and a stylistic success.
    Elvira B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2008
    Bold cinema,you'd feel it was like some sort of nouvelle vague homage despite the monotony of the characters and their "rebellious" attitude.I was immensely surprised however by the self-destruction of the protagonist Louis Garrel (definitely talented) and the rest of the gang through the joy of life,opium,sex and lots of 60's hallucinatory references.A wonderful homage for whatever the case may be.
    Dimitris S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 16, 2008
    [font=Century Gothic]"Regular Lovers" is a purposefully ambiguous movie about the youth culture of the late 60's in France with a special focus on the uprisings of May 1968. It is shot in black and white while the riot scenes take on a magic of their own, shot in near darkness with a flashback to the 1871 Paris commune thrown in(with a repeat visit near the end of the film). But there is little mention of any politics or what the students are fighting for.(In other words, there is more dilettantism than anarchism.) Or maybe they are fighting against turning into their parents while seeking a different way to lead their lives.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]At the heart of the turmoil is Francois(Louis Garrel), a poet, who dodges the draft(It is not physical cowardice that drives this but a wish not to kill.) and participates fully in the riots. As 1968 turns into 1969, he gets involved with Lilie(Clotilde Hesme), a sculptor, who works at a foundry to make ends meet. But mostly what they do is hang out with a group of friends, and get stoned a lot.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 17, 2007
    When <i>Regular Lovers</i> premiered in Venice in September 2005, it was hailed as the best French film of the year, and trashed as one of the worst in fifty at the same time. It has been described as mesmerising by some, and mind-numbingly boring by others. This radical division of opinion extends to perceptions of the film's intentions themselves. <a href="http://s172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/EarthlyAlien/?action=view¤t=amants-reguliers.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/EarthlyAlien/amants-reguliers.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> According to many's points of view, the film was a response to Bernardo Bertolucci's <i>The Dreamers</i> (there's a scene in which a character makes a reference to a Bertolucci film and then turns to the camera and says "Bernardo Bertolucci"), while others' dismissed that and considered both films as different as water and fire. To find similarities you merely have to look at both films: both were directed by French industry veterans, both star Louis Garrel and follow a group of young people, their lives, loves and participation in the student riots in Paris during May 1968. Director Philippe Garrel even went so far as to borrow and buy props and costumes from Bertolucci's film. My opinion? <i>Regular Lovers</i> isn't merely a response <i>The Dreamers</i>. Bertolucci's film - regardless of how much I enjoyed it - lacked some balance and correction in its perspective. It was a somehow artificial, although gorgeous glimpse over the sexual awakening of three idealistic young film buffs, walking around a bohemian Parisian apartment naked like models out of a fashion magazine, listening to the hippest music of the 60s and quoting lines from New Wave films while the real revolution was happening out on the streets. Which is fine. <i>Regular Lovers</i>, however, is told firmly from Garrel's own perspective and his own experience as a youth on the barricades. Garrel, known as the Rimbaud of French cinema, turned 20 in 1968 - the same age as his tender poet protagonist, François (played by the director's son Louis). Growing up on the cinema of Truffaut and Godard, the 1970s films of Philippe Garrel, Jean Eustache and Chantal Ackerman are the true inheritors of the legacy of the spirit of the <i>Nouvelle Vague</i>. <i>Regular Lovers</i> consequently has an authenticity that is to some extent autobiographical. Garrel has recounted in interviews his own flight across the rooftops from the French police dramatised here in the film using his own son, and an early static scene of fighting at the barricades is a reconstruction of a documentary called <i>Actu 1</i>, now lost, that Garrel filmed during the student riots in Paris during May 1968. With such details, and filmed in a stark black and white in academy ratio that makes the film look and feel like a close relative of Godard's <i>Masculin Féminin</i> or Eustache's <i>La Maman et la Putain</i>, Garrel achieves a fine sense of authenticity that captures the earnest idealism of youth much better than Bertolucci's film, although less pleasant to the eyes, for not being in color and not having Eva Green in it. Louis Garrel's François is a student and a poet, smoking opium with other friends and artists and doing his best to avoid work and compulsory military service. Idealistically, they are prepared to risk prison for these beliefs and, when the mood spills over onto the streets of Paris, they take them one stage further facing the police charges face-to-face, launching Molotov cocktails, manning burning barricades and escaping through the streets to collapse in bed. He meets and falls in love with Lilie (Clotilde Hesme) and together they struggle in the post-revolution to find a new way of living out the ideals they believe in. What Garrel is depicting is everything that is essential to youth, everything that drives youth forward - the discovery of oneself and the infinite possibilities that life and art open up to those willing to take a path different from the norm. For some that might be just going to the Cinémateque Français and imitating the cool behaviour of the stars of the <i>Nouvelle Vague</i>, but for Garrel's French youths, it's so much more than that. It really is a matter of life or death. These young men and women believe that their generation can bring about a revolution but, as they light-up and draw on another opium pipe, the agents of the revolution wonder why no one came to join them. It's in that moment that Garrel's film shows the downside to the revolution in the following years - the harsh realities of living, of forgetting friends and being forgotten, of needing to earn money, of living in a country that lacked the prospects for artistic youth and expression, the problems associated with the ideal of free-love and the growing attraction for escape from this life into oblivion. The slow, poetic mood of the film is considerably enhanced by the stark, high-contrast black and white cinematography of William Lubtchansky, who has worked previously with all the leading lights of the <i>Nouvelle Vague</i>, including Truffaut, Godard and Rivette. Lubtchansky's cinematography takes us completely and almost literally back to May '68 with images that are close to newsreel footage in authenticity, yet are raised to a level of artistic expression that make the film a blend of a documentary-like historical precision and a hauntingly melodic love story. It's more than easy to make the case for <i>Regular Lovers</i> as art over entertainment, and argue that, in the spirit of his lead character, Garrel has created a work that rejects commercial concerns in favour of a form of cinematic poetry, while the opposing view would doubtless accuse the film of being too long (175-minute long) and boring, for its deliberately slow pace. For myself, I found the film intermittently fascinating, deep-eyed and evocative. I can honestly say I'm a slightly more educated, aware and 'better' human being than I was before seeing it.
    Pedro P Super Reviewer

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