Sunday 18 November 2012

Something in the Air [2012]

Fresh from the brilliant mini-series Carlos, Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air was, in comparison, less a political film and more a personal one, despite its strong political backdrop. He banked upon his experiences and memories from his student days to carve out a film infused with nostalgia, a terrific sense of zeitgeist of an era long lost in space, and an underlying commentary about an artist’s role within a sociopolitical milieu. The film opened 3 years after the historic May 1968 student protests in Paris, and focused on a group of high-school students intoxicated with the lingering spirit of that event as well as revolutionary Leftist doctrines. The principal protagonist is Gilles (Clement Metayer), a rebellious high school student who is an active member of the then anti-establishmentarian movement, a talented artist and a wannabe filmmaker – and quite possibly, a stand-in for the director himself. The film portrays his journey from radical activism to pragmatic realization. His romanticized dreams of transformation face their first rude awakening when an unfortunate accident takes place during a particular nocturnal excursion for vandalizing school walls with political graffiti and slogans, forcing him and his friends to take a long break from active involvement. As maturity starts gradually setting in, his outlook and choice of path, too, diverge from those who continue to believe in the cause, including Christina (Mia Hansen-Love), the girl he is in a relationship with. Filled with songs that nicely evoked the then era of counter-culture and free love, and lushly photographed, this coming-of-age film was at once energetic, bittersweet, reflective and melancholic.

p.s. Watched this as part of 2012 Kolkata International Film Festival (KFF)

Director: Olivier Assayas
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Coming-of-Age/Political Drama
Language: French
Country: France


Sam Juliano said...

Again you consider a contemporary work by an important artist with passionate and scholarly heft! I have not seen this film, but based on your glowing appraisal and my own affinity for CARLOS and Assayas, I will see it at first chance!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. Well, to be honest, this has generated polarized reactions. But in my opinion, its certainly more than worth a watch. I'd be interested to know your opinions once you've watched it.