When I was a kid, I spent a few weeks each summer with my grandparents in Madras, a mere thirteen degrees north of the equator. This meant scorching days and sweaty nights, with no escape except for two hours of oblivion each evening in "The Tent" — a makeshift movie theater with a giant hood of thick gray tarp; hard, back-less benches for seats; and a beautiful white sheet of muslin for a screen. Upon this magic carpet would be projected old black-and-white flickers that seemed like they had been slumbering underground since Mahabharatan times.
All this to say that the texture of film upon its projection surface is something I've always responded to strongly. When I saw Philippe Garrel's Regular Lovers recently on a giant screen, it looked as if a rich layer of chocolate-coated celluloid had been laid carefully upon that old crisp sheet of muslin. The voluptuous black-and-white texture of this movie is a thing to behold. Furthermore, it's filmed in the ancient Academy aspect ratio (1.37:1), which deepens the feeling that it is some kind of buried object, recently unearthed.