La Jalousie (Jealousy)
Director Philippe Garrel
Language French (subtitled in Japanese)
Opens Sept. 27

I always take a keen interest in French auteur Philippe Garrel, who has spent an entire career pouring his relationship joys and (mostly) troubles into films such as “Wild Innocence” and “Les Amants Regulars,” but I haven’t found many of his films to be truly satisfying; his work tends to be self-indulgent, holding more meaning for himself than any potential viewers. Not so in the case of “La Jalousie,” which may be Garrel’s most approachable work to date. Garrel has his son Louis (who has now appeared in five of his films) playing a philandering actor whose character is based on Garrel’s own father. “La Jalousie” is apparently based on the affair that broke up his parents’ marriage when he was still a child.

Shot in Paris in sumptuous black and white by Willy Kurant, the film is broodingly romantic and melancholic with plenty of cigarettes being smoked. But the characters — Louis Garrel’s feckless dad Louis, Chanel model Anna Mouglalis as struggling actress and muse Claudia, and especially Olga Milshtein as a daughter from his failed marriage — are far better sketched than usual, and pull us — with great empathy — into the drama, as they compete for affection and betray one another.

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