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887 Ratings

Lover for a Day

L'amant d'un jour

Directed by Philippe Garrel
France, 2017
  • French
  • English


After a bad breakup, the only place 23-year-old Jeanne has to stay in Paris is the flat of her father. But when Jeanne arrives, she finds that his new girlfriend has moved in too: Arianne, a young woman her own age. Each is looking for their own kind of love in a city filled with possibilities.

Our take

In this lithe romantic triangle, Philippe Garrel shows us he only needs the barest means—plus 35mm B&W film—to tell a story. Co-scripted with his regular collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière, the film oozes desire and intensity, as two women (one played by his daughter Esther) find out what love means.

Lover for a Day Directed by Philippe Garrel
There’s a casual mastery to latter-day Garrel that reveals a filmmaker who knows his craft inside and out and knows how to achieve the maximum effect with the simplest means. Even a shot of three characters sitting around a kitchen table (of which there are quite a few here) becomes a rich study in human interaction under Garrel’s gaze; and as for the closeups, they are, as usual, painterly, probing, and mesmerizing.
April 27, 2018
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Running just over an hour, Lover for a Day is a work of radical compression. It’s the kind of film that could easily be written off as a minor work if it wasn’t so clear that this austerity is the product of a seasoned master in total control of his form.
March 31, 2018
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At first sight, Lover for a Day might seem like a collection of moments, emphasized by a superbly economic editing that lets go of transitions. This simplicity is deceptive. Philippe Garrel creates not really a narrative arc, but a narrative braid: Jeanne can only find personal redemption through Ariane’s journey. It is a story of sacrifice, and in stories of sacrifice the casual moments tend to guard minor revelations.
January 22, 2018
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