Louis Garrel has a brooding, magnetic quality on screen, and last night was my chance to find out if his talents transfer behind the camera – plus see him in the flesh. To mark the launch of this year's My French Film Festival, he and one of the stars of his film, Léa Seydoux, presented Petit tailleur at the Institut Français in London. At 44 minutes' duration, The little tailor is a moyen métrage – or 'long short film' as Garrel jokingly put it. That's the same length as your average TV drama, but this story is cinematic from the start, with clear homages to François Truffaut (Garrel's hero) and filmed in moody black and white.
Arthur is an apprentice tailor, working with the elderly Albert, who wants to pass the business on to him. Marie-Julie is a beautiful but troubled actress, with whom Arthur falls deeply in love. She demands he leave Albert behind and follow her into the unknown. The film didn't have me asking whether Arthur would follow his heart – for he loves both Albert and Marie-Julie and feels bound to both of them. The question is, which person exerts the stronger pull?
I'll try to write a full post about My French Film Festival, because it's a brilliant idea and Petit tailleur is one of ten short films in competition this year. Visit the website to find out more.