Lover for a Day

Like a good magic trick, this fleet romantic drama from veteran French filmmaker Philippe Garrel succeeds through misdirection: the story and dialogue revolve around sexual fidelity, but the true conflict is between two young women fighting for emotional control of an older man. Reeling from a bad breakup, Jeanne (Esther Garrel) shows up at the doorstep of her single father (Éric Caravaca), a philosophy professor, only to learn that he’s living with Ariane (Louise Chevillotte), an oversexed former student. These two contemporaries bond at first as Jeanne works through her heartache, but Ariane comes to understand that her intense physical relationship with the professor is no match for the intimacy and mutual respect he and his daughter have built up over the years. Shooting in black and white, Garrel creates a sort of classically French ambience, somewhere between the nervous energy of Godard and the emotional perspicacity of Renoir. In French with subtitles.