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The Virgin’s Bed

(Le lit de la vierge)
France 1970. Dir: Philippe Garrel. 95 min. 35mm

NEW 35mm PRINT! Made in the wake of France’s May 1968 social uprising, Philippe Garrel’s enigmatic, elliptical avant-garde opus, a delirious retelling of the Christ story, was shot without a script and under the influence of LSD. It is the second and most thematically ambitious of Garrel’s drug-fuelled artifacts created as a member of the Zanzibar Group, a collective of politically radicalized artists galvanized by the May ’68 events. In Garrel’s own (albeit translated) words: “It is a non-violent parable in which Zouzou [iconic ‘60s model, singer, actress] incarnates both Mary and Mary Magdalene, while Pierre Clémenti [Buñuel, Visconti, Bertolucci actor] incarnates a discouraged Christ who throws down his arms in face of world cruelty. In spite of its allegorical nature, the film contains a denunciation of the police repression of 1968, which was generally well understood by viewers at the time.” Filmed in engulfing, monochrome widescreen, and featuring music by Garrel’s then-partner Nico.