Loving Nico

In a perfect world, the revival of Philippe Garrel's 1991 pinnacle J'entends plus la guitare (I Don't Hear the Guitar Anymore) would warrant more than a two-night stand. (It did play for a week in New York, admittedly a slightly bigger burg than ours. But still.) Inspired by the filmmaker's decade-long, smack-fueled relationship with German chanteuse Nico and released three years after her death, Guitare contemplates love's vertiginous ups and downs through an unmistakably French mélange of philosophy, conversation, and carnality. Garrel's forte is the kaleidoscopic illumination of acute emotional truth, played out in the still smoldering, dashed-hopes aftermath of the '60s. The collision of idealism and human nature is a main refrain in the director's oeuvre, dating to his 1969 Biblical allegory Le lit de la vierge (The Virgin's Bed). This LSD-steeped, one-of-a-kind saga of the prophet Jesus is not merely a social critique but a call for a new, parallel utopia. For those more inclined to melancholy than euphoria, the mini-tribute "I'll Be Your Mirror: Rare Films by Philippe Garrel" also includes The Velvet Underground and Nico: A Symphony of Sound, a 1966 performance filmed by Andy Warhol.
May 15-16, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., May 18, 2008

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