Film Review: Lover for a Day

Philippe Garrel trades in relationships. The French director’s focus is on that eternal fascination for many of his countrymen; love. With a filmography including Regular Lovers, Wild Innocence, The Birth of Love and Emergency Kisses, it’s not like he makes any secret of it. Following on from Jealousy and In the Shadow of a Woman, Lover for a Day is the final part of his trilogy on love. It’s likely to be the most ‘French’ film you’ll see all year.

Gilles (Éric Caravaca), a philosophy professor, is having an affair with Ariane (Louise Chevillotte), one of his students. This is unbeknownst to his daughter Jeanne (Esther Garrel), who turns up at his door after being dumped by her boyfriend. Jeanne isn’t phased by the age gap and strikes up a friendship with Ariane, who in turn gives her a shoulder to cry on. The threesome establishes a shifting dynamic as they analyse their lovers and relationships.

Lover for a Day is a beautifully shot black and white intellectual treatise on love, friendship and fidelity. It’s an elegant mix of drama and romance which evokes some of the classic French love stories from the 1960s. Esther Garrel is absolutely captivating as Jeanne; continuing a rich vein of form from Thirst Street and Call Me By Your Name. Lover for the Day is a whimsical and thoughtful tale of modern love which has a strong traditional heartbeat.

Lover for the Day is in cinemas from 19 January.

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