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Emergency Kisses

(Les baisers de secours)
France 1989. Dir: Philippe Garrel. 90 min. 35mm


6:00pm - Reception
7:00pm - Lover for a Day introduced by Thierry Garrel
8:45pm - Emergency Kisses

35mm PRINT! In an oeuvre typified by its first-person perspectives, Philippe Garrel’s 1989 meta-masterpiece, a Godardian rumination on art, love, and life, finds the French cinéaste at perhaps his most self-referential and revelatory. Garrel directs himself as Mathieu, a filmmaker unwilling to cast his wife Jeanne (Garrel’s then-wife Brigitte Sy) as a version of herself in a movie based on their lives. He instead offers the role to a better-known actress (played by better-known actress Anémone), an act of infidelity in Jeanne’s eyes. At the advice of his father (Garrel’s father Maurice), Mathieu uses the couple’s five-year-old son (their real-life son and future Garrel stand-in Louis) as a means of marital reconciliation. Trembling heartbeats, picked up by the actors’ lapel mics, add to the film’s unsparing familial intimacies. The final, operatic crane shot complicates any sense of realism invited by the material’s overtly-autobiographical nature. A favourite of fellow post-New Wave filmmaker Leos Carax. Print courtesy Institut Français, thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.


"The metatheatrical layers in the likes of Emergency Kisses are dizzying ... A fascinating meditation on the divisions between cinema and life."

Senses of Cinema | full review

"Delightfully meta ... Garrel provides a voluminous inventory of human feelings, while managing to avoid navel-gazing or excessive pathos ... Emergency Kisses has all the spontaneity and cool sensibility of a Cassavetes flick."

Time Out | full review