Le Lit de la vierge
(The Virgin's Bed)

Screening on Film
Directed by Philippe Garrel.
With Pierre Clémenti, Zouzou, Tina Aumont.
France, 1969, 35mm, black & white, 114 min.
French with English subtitles.

Garrel’s fifth feature is a parable about Jesus set in modern times. Shot in the aftermath of the uprisings of May ‘68, made without a script and under the influence of LSD, the film reverberates with the rebellious spirit of the period. Pierre Clémenti plays a Christ reluctant to assume his earthly mission, while the Virgin Mary (Zouzou, doubly cast as Mary Magdalene) attempts to reconcile him with his duty. Garrel invokes the Christian narrative only to reject a strict retelling in a chronicle that is episodic and nonlinear. In naming his characters Mary and Jesus, Garrel reminds us of the contestatory attitude of the ’68 generation, for whom Jesus was a hippie “avant la lettre.”

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