L'Enfant secret (Philippe Garrel, 1982) | French Film Series

Location: Rubenstein Arts Center Film Theater

Part of the 2023 French Film Series:

L’Enfant secret
(Philippe Garrel, 1982, 95 min, France, French with English subtitles, DCP)

Preceded by: Actua 1
(Philippe Garrel, 1968, 6 min, France, French with English subtitles, DCP)

-- Introduced by Benjamin Crais (Literature). Q&A to follow screening.

After the generational upheaval of May ’68 and its aftermath, and the personal upheavals of addiction, depression, shock therapy, and the end of a life-defining relationship with Nico, Philippe Garrel made L’Enfant secret: an elemental, oneiric film about two damaged lovers. Primordial and intimate, L’Enfant secret seems to emanate directly from the molten white core of a life and of film: one feels, Adrian Martin wrote, “that one is attending, like a midwife, the birth of cinema.” Preceded by Garrel’s recently rediscovered and restored short Actua 1, shot in the heat of May ’68.

--Winner of the 1982 Prix Jean Vigo

“It seems to me one of the greatest and most monumental works in cinema history.” – Adrian Martin

“Anyone versed in L’Enfant secret through bootleg copies will weep for joy upon seeing the new restoration, which makes this milestone of post-French New Wave cinema finally play as it should: a lucid dream.” – Screen Slate

"It may be the most haunted film ever made. One is struck by the sense of Garrel inventing cinema, by images that come from a time before Lumière; the characters are haunted by past lives and present possible worlds; the film is haunted by the autobiographical ‘reality' of Garrel and Nico's relationship." – Senses of Cinema

"It is a singular event in Garrel's oeuvre, a quietly devastating film of almost unbearable alternations between tenderness and the harshest truths, in which the artist's realization of his ability to communicate with the world results in a windblown clarity, like clouds pushing through the sky after a storm."  Kent Jones

French trailer:

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Screen/Society screenings are free and open to the public.

Parking Info:  https://artscenter.duke.edu/parking


As we welcome audiences back for in-person screening events, we are prioritizing the health and safety of our extended community. Keeping each other safe during events will require collaboration and we are grateful for your support. Screen/Society and the Rubenstein Arts Center will adhere to all university, local, and state regulations on and off campus, which are subject to change on short notice depending on public health conditions.

Vaccination Status: We strongly encourage audience members to be fully vaccinated or have a recent negative PCR test before attending an event.  Duke University currently requires all students and employees to be vaccinated. More information on Duke University’s COVID-19 response.

Masking: Current Duke University guidelines for events apply to all presentations on campus.  As of 09/22/2022, masks are no longer mandatory for indoor screenings, though the policy could change again in the future. Masking remains one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others, and is strongly recommended, especially in indoor settings. We should respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask even if it is not required.

Stay Home If You Are Feeling Sick: If you are feeling or showing symptoms of COVID-19 or if you believe you might have come into contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, please stay home.

Seating: For our screenings, seating is based on a first-come basis. We encourage everyone to be respectful during performances and maintain distancing as they feel comfortable.

Enhanced Cleaning: Venues on Duke University’s campus are operating under restricted access and receive enhanced cleaning and sanitization of high-touch surfaces. Duke University venue ventilation is in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Hand Hygiene: Hand sanitizer stations are positioned throughout campus venues for your convenience.

Healthy Team: All employees and vendors are required to be symptom free before entering the building, as well as wear masks at all times, and frequently wash their hands during shifts.

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Contact: Hank Okazaki

Email: hokazak@duke.edu

Sponsor: Center for French and Francophone Studies

Co-Sponsors: Duke Cinematic Arts