“Fidelity, how did that go?” “Badly.”
Lover for a Day, the latest tale of love, jealousy and infidelity from French master, Philippe Garrel sees a 23-year-old woman return home to her father’s cluttered, Paris flat following a nasty break-up to find that he has moved in a girlfriend her own age. Far from feeling animosity though, Jeanne, played by Garrel’s own daughter Esther, finds solace with her Philosophy professor father, Gilles (Éric Caravaca), and a friend in Ariane (Louise Chevillotte), the student he has fallen for. Indeed, as Jeanne and Ariane bond over shared secrets, Gilles contemplates his past misdeeds whilst struggling with the realities of dating his much younger partner.
The film forms a loose trilogy with Garrel’s recent works In the Shadow of Women and Jealousy. As with those films, there’s a laid-back, knotty elegance to the plotting and a lush sensuality to the 35mm widescreen monochrome cinematography. This is very much a film in a certain French tradition (of which the veteran Garrel is certainly a part), and you can expect charged, deceptively high-stakes discussions of life, love and sex anchored around dance floors, bedrooms and kitchen tables. If that’s your bag, then the lean, empathetic Lover for a Day’s gauzy, almost dreamlike sojourn into the tangled lives of a trio in a state of flux should prove a very pleasurable 76-minutes at the movies.