Le Lit de la Vierge

Title: Le Lit de la Vierge
Director, Screenwriter, Dialogues: Philippe Garrel
Editor: Caroline Camus
Production Company: Zanzibar Film (Sylvina Boissonnas)
Producers: Philippe Garrel & Sylvina Boissonnas for Zanzibar Films
First Distributor in France: Capital Cinéma
Music: Les Jeunes Rebelles (Philippe Garrel, Frédéric Pardo, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Didier Léon), The Velvet Underground, Nico
Sound: Claude Jauvert, Jean-Pierre Ruh
Cinematography: Michel Fournier
Editor: Françoise Colin
Running Time: 105 minutes
Format: Black & white Cinemascope, Franscope, 2.35:1, 35mm, mono
Release Date: 1969-00-00 [FR], 2003-06-25 [PT], 2007-02-13 [DE]
Cast: Pierre Clémenti: Jesus
Zouzou [Danièle Ciarlet]: The Virgin Mary / Mary Magdalene #1
Valérie Lagrange The Virgin Mary / Mary Magdalene #2
Tina Aumont: The prisoner
Magareth Clémenti: The tortured woman
Jean-Pierre Kalfon: The horseman
Philippe Garrel: The Apostle
Jaïmé Semprun: The Prisoner
Nicole Laguigné
Babette Lamy
Didier Léon
Pierre-Richard Bré
Anne Moriquand
Frédéric Pardo
Filming Date: Early February 1969
Filming locations: Baie des Trépassrés, Cap Sizun, Finistrère, Brittany, France; مراكش (Marraquexe), Morocco; Grottaferrata, Lazio, Italy
Note: Pierre Clémenti plays a frail, haggard Christ reluctant to assume his earthly mission and unable to communicate with people or get them to listen to him. As the Virgin Mary, Zouzou attempts to reconcile him with his duty. Zouzou also plays Mary Magdalene. But Garrel invokes the Christian narrative only to reject a strict retelling of that story. Shot in the Baie des Trépassés, Plogoff, Britanny, and Morocco and made without a script and under the influence of LSD, Le Lit de la Vierge is minimally concerned with traditional religion. With an episodic and non-chronological narrative, Garrel's film reminds us of the contestatory attitude of the '68 generation for whom Jesus was a hippie avant la lettre.

Le Lit de la Vierge also suggests ways in which Garrel and his friends saw themselves as belonging to a kind of religious sect. One memorable scene suggests a baptismal rite, as Clémenti's Christ leads his followers through water. In the background, the filmmaker is beat up by another member, until Clémenti comes along to "save" him, intimating Garrel's own identification with Christ. It is a leitmotif in Garrel's cinema with its emphasis on suffering, on poverty, and on a belief in his kingdom yet to come.

At the end of the shoot Garrel met Nico in Paris to talk about her music. They talked about more than that, and flirted. In return for using her music, Garrel recounted, "she took me to New York and showed Le Lit de la Vierge with her song The Falconer (written for Andy) to Andy Warhol. He said it was very good and in return showed me Imitation of Christ."

Frédéric Pardo shot a Super 8mm black and white and colour 30 minute silent film in 1968: Home Movie: On the Set of Phillipe Garrel's Le Lit de la Vierge. Influenced by the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites and Casper David Friedrich, Pardo's movie is a mystical, life affirming celebration which documents the Garrel inner circle in Morocco in 1968 on the set of Le Lit de la Vierge. While the stars of the Garrel film were Pierre Clémenti and Zouzou, here in Pardo's behind-the-scenes view it is Garrel's peripheral actors who take center stage: Pierre-Richard Bré, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Babette Lamy, and above all, Tina Aumont.

Centre Georges Pompidou Cinéma 1, Paris, on 2004-01-23 20:30 and 2004-01-30 19:00 Cinéma 2

2004-06-05 19.00 and 2004-06-25 21.00, La Cinémathèque, Salle Chaillot, 7 avenue Albert de Mun, Paris.

2007-09-21 19.30 and 2007-09-22 16.30, Donostia Zinemaldia Festival De San Sebastian, Spain
Pierre Clémenti & Zouzou
Pierre Clémenti & Zouzou
The Falconer — Le Lit de la Vierge

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Serge Mironneau