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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Tasty passages from Manohla Dargis

In Friday’s New York Times, Manohla Dargis limns a lovely 800-word rhapsody to Phillipe Garrel’s love tragedy Frontier of Dawn, a film that knocked me out. I always admire how Dargis writes when she’s swept away: a precise swoon, a cadence of admiration, a flick of the wrist. “Love is a universe of two in Philippe Garrel’s fatalistic romance Frontier of Dawn… Serious movies that insist on their own seriousness almost always face a difficult reception, whether they are intellectual puzzles or, like Frontier of Dawn, romantic cries from the heart…. The nakedness of this melancholy, its unvarnished, unapologetic blatancy, partly explains, I think, the difficulty some viewers have had with the film. That, and love. It seems strange to say, but even as cinemas of all national origins continue to find new and expressive ways to convey violence on screen, many now seem at a loss when it comes to love. Certainly that’s the case in America, where passion is often tempered with laughs (as in innumerable buddy romances) or becomes an excuse for sublimation (as in those orgies of consumption known as chick flicks). But love is the drug in Frontier of Dawn, the thing that pulls people together, tears them apart and defines their relationship with other people and the world… Time and again, he inserts two lovers inside his meticulous compositions, where they reveal passions that by virtue of their excesses remind us of how drained of life the modern world truly is. He transforms a private reverie into a public sacrament, invokes the eternal, risks absurdity, invites derision, seduces, shocks, transcends.” Oui, oui.


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