The French title of Olivier Assayas’ 2012 film, Après mai, translates as “After May”, referring to the famous uprisings in the country during May of 1968. It was a period of revolutionary zeal that is also evoked by the film’s UK title, if one recalls the lyrics of Thunderclap Newman’s 1969 hit single Something in the Air: “We’ve got to get together sooner or later, because the revolution’s here.”
Assayas is no stranger to the revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s himself, and Something in the Air is semi-autobiographical. Rather than providing a historical exposé of the revolutionary ideals of the time, the film is instead a coming-of-age narrative set against that backdrop of demonstrations and fervour; it is more in line with a film like Dazed and Confused (1993) than any overtly politically charged work…
Full review for VODzilla.co
I joined Jake Cunningham, Sam Howlett and Kelly Powell to discuss Michael Pearce’s Beast on The Curzon Film Podcast.
Director Olivier Assayas has a penchant of late for companion piece films. His 2012 feature Something in the Air, a film loosely based on his own coming of age in an era of widespread disillusion, was concerned with youth rebellion in early 1970s France. He mined some similar territory beforehand in his 1994 effort Cold Water, however that film only alluded to the political concerns that Something in the Air puts closer to the forefront. Cold Water and Something share some character names, similar visual cues and thematic motifs. In a way, it’s as though Assayas is using the newer film to comment on the older one, and considering Cold Water’s own supposedly autobiographical elements, one can argue that Something works as an artist looking back on how he previously looked back on his past.
This elaborate self-reflexive approach is maintained for Assayas’ latest extraordinary film, Clouds of Sils Maria, which can be viewed as a companion piece to his 1996 work Irma Vep. Both concern a veteran actress coming to terms with their place in a cinematic landscape they find increasingly baffling, and each offers a unique meta-commentary on contemporary filmmaking. Clouds of Sils Maria takes some major swings at Hollywood’s current crop of samey sci-fi and fantasy franchises along with star stories told through social media and gossip sites…
Full review for Vague Visages