Narrative turn
Autobiography and the imaginary self
in Philippe Garrel
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The third chapter addresses Garrel’s narrative period (1979–1988), which begins with the confessional film L’Enfant secret. It explores the relationship between Garrel’s autobiographical approaches and Surrealism, especially the writings of André Breton, with whom the director expresses a strong affinity. A second aspect assesses Garrel’s role as historian. Two films from this period – Elle a passé tant d’heures sous les sunlights (1985) and Les Ministères de l’art (1989) – directly invoke the lives and works of other film-makers of Garrel’s generation. The chapter considers how Garrel integrates the personal histories of directors such as Jean Eustache, Chantal Akerman and Jacques Doillon with a broader history of a loose cinematic school that evolved in the aftermath of the New Wave.

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