This year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema festival, Film at Lincoln Center’s annual showcase of contemporary French filmmaking, was something of a Louis Garrel convention—the French actor and director appeared in three movies in the lineup. He directed and stars in The Innocent, a comedy inspired by events from his own life, about a young man whose mother marries a heist robber newly released from prison. He also stars alongside his sisters, Esther and Lena Garrel, in their father Philippe Garrel’s Silver Bear–winning new feature, The Plough, a melancholic, understated drama about a family of puppeteers grappling with the decline of their patriarch and their traditions. And Louis appears as the theater director Patrice Chéreau in Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s Forever Young, about a group of young initiates at Les Amandiers, a famous acting school outside Paris.

Last week, Devika called up Garrel on Zoom—while he was in the middle of a shoot for a film about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince—for a conversation about the autobiographical inspirations of all three films, the differences between his and his father’s directing styles, their collaboration with the legendary screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, and more.

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