Reviewed by: Anne-Katrin Titze

"Don't leave me alone. Don't do this," a woman is crying in black and white. Her daughter has a print of bubbles on her bedding listens and watches her parents' argument through the keyhole. "J'ai gardé les anges," title of part one of Philippe Garrel's keen inspection in Jealousy (La jalousie), could be translated as "I kept the angels," or, I looked after them, took care of them. The assorted nuances of meaning are not wasted.

Jealousy is a carefully constructed film with plenty of family ties for the director. Son, Louis Garrel, star in many of his father's films, plays Louis, a character inspired by the director's father, Louis' own grandfather at age 30. That was the time when he left the grandmother to live with another woman. The film tells a similar tale and director Garrel situates his alter ego as the little girl Charlotte (Olga Milshtein), the one with the bubbles and the keyhole. Louis' sister Esther in the film is played by Esther Garrel, to complete the time tilted family portrait.

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"Stop shouting," says the little girl, when nobody does shout anymore, and only the doors are loud and carry the to-be-slammed-ness within them. The pain is in objects and sounds. The mother Clothilde (Rebecca Convenant) wears a most unflattering "office dress" with an aggressively mighty belt cutting her in half at the dinner table while Charlotte explains a father/daughter collaborative drawing and who painted what. Her words echo the filmmaking process. The screenplay for Jealousy is credited to a quartet: Marc Cholodenko, Caroline Deruas-Garrel, Arlette Langmann and Philippe Garrel.

The actor Louis is madly in love with Claudia (the charismatic Anna Mouglalis), an actress who hasn't worked in her profession for six years. A kiss, he puts a scarf around her and they race up the steps to their tiny attic apartment. They do the things people do in beautifully photographed Nouvelle Vague films. The cinematographer of Jealousy is Willy Kurant, who worked for example with Jean-Luc Godard on Masculin Féminin (Masculine Feminine,1966) and on Maurice Pialat's Sous Le Soleil De Satan (Under The Sun Of Satan, 1987).

Garrel's Louis is tender with his daughter. When she is cold, he gives her his coat, a gesture one step up from the scarf for the girlfriend in a previous scene. He himself has something of the heroine in the Grimms' tale Star Coins, who gives her possessions away bit by bit. To complete the step-parental triangle of give-aways, Claudia offers little Charlotte her woolen cap during their first encounter, which thoroughly impresses the child. In a masterful scene, during which she tells her mother about the meeting with her ex-husband's new girlfriend, the jealousy is unambiguous and cloaked in parental protection. The fact that her daughter finds the new woman fascinating drives a dagger through her already wounded heart.

Meanwhile, Claudia washes the feet of a long-time mentor of hers, runs from and towards her instincts, wears a shiny-wet leather coat and old-fashioned ankle boots and recurrently looks a lot like Emmanuelle Riva in Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959).

The shadows on the wall and the squares of light from the attic window recall an installation by James Turrell. She meets a guy in a bar. She can't stand the hovel anymore and wishes for a magic flounder.

Instead, time is spent with Louis and his daughter in the frosty park having fun with the Mute Swans and stealing, no, taking lollipops.

"Sparks in a powder keg" lead into the question: "If one of us ever cheats, would we tell?"

There is the "law of the desert" - hospitality is provided for three days and three nights, then you must leave the tent. Claudia needs light, space and happiness. Louis has but his deep love to give. His daughter believes he loves his own father more than her, his child. Jealousy finds its way into any open heart. Louis has an old friend, too. He tells him "Maybe you understand your fictional characters better than the real ones?" Of course he does. Most people do.

Reviewed on: 29 Sep 2013
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Autobiographical cinema from director Philippe Garrel, in which his son Louis and Anna Mouglalis star as actors and lovers trying to reconcile their professional and personal lives.
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Director: Philippe Garrel

Writer: Marc Cholodenko, Caroline Deruas-Garrel, Philippe Garrel, Arlette Langmann

Starring: Louis Garrel, Anna Mouglalis, Emanuela Ponzano, Arthur Igual

Year: 2013

Runtime: 77 minutes

Country: France, Germany

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