Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fin août, début septembre / Late August, Early September

Kun kesä on ohi / Mellan två höstar. FR 1999 (French premiere 10 February 1999) © 1998 Dacia Films / Cinéa. PC also: Canal+ / Centre National de la Cinématographie / Sofinenergie & Sofygram. EX: Françoise Guglielmi. P: Georges Benayoun, Philippe Carcassonne. D+SC: Olivier Assayas. DP: Denis Lenoir - Super 16 mm - Fuji, Kodak - blown up to 35 mm - colour - 1,85. AD: François-Renaud Labarthe. Cost: Jessica Doyle. Makeup: Thi-Than-Tu Nguyen. M: Cinquante six, Goye Kur, Hawa Dolo by Ali Farka Touré. "Altar" sung live by Elli Medeiros. ED: Luc Barnier. Wash drawing of a stag by Joseph Beuys. C: Mathieu Amalric (Gabriel Deshayes), Virginie Ledoyen (Anne Rosenwald), François Cluzet (Adrien Willer), Jeanne Balibar (Jenny), Alex Descas (Jérémie), Arsinée Khanjian (Lucie), Nathalie Richard (Maryelle Deshayes), Mia Hansen-Løve (Véra), Eric Elmosnino (Thomas Deshayes), Olivier Cruveiller (Axel), Jean-Baptiste Malartre (Vladimir, the publisher), André Marcon (Gérard Hattou), Jean-Baptiste Montagut (Joseph Costa), Olivier Torrès (Marc Jobert), Jean-François Gallotte (producer of the documentary), Bernard Nissille (Frédéric), Fejria Deliba (Lucie's friend), Damie Doidane (Axel's friend). Helsinki premiere: 1.10.1999 Kino Engel, distributed by Cinema Mondo, with Finnish subtitles only by Outi Kainulainen – 111 min – The Cinema Mondo print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Olivier Assayas), 13 September 2012.

Six chapters: 1 Problèmes immobilières de Gabriel, 2 Mulhouse (un mois plus tard), 3 Admission (3 mois plus tard), 4 Les occasions manquées (6 mois plus tard), 5 Le dessin de Joseph Beuys, 6 Présence d'Adrien (6 mois plus tard).

One of the most personal, essential films by Olivier Assayas along with L'Eau froide and L'Heure d'été and also perhaps his forthcoming Après-mai.

An ensemble piece about a group of literary friends and colleagues and those close to them. The writer Adrien Willer battles against a terminal illness. His friend Gabriel makes a documentary on him in Mulhouse where he spent his early years. Gabriel's relationship with Jenny ends and they sell their flat. Gabriel has a new relationship with the passionately physical Anne. Gabriel becomes the ghostwriter for a politician and plans a novel of his own. After his death, Adrien's esteem is on the rise and his unfinished novel sells better than his previous ones. Some find its lack of polish an advantage. Adrien's memory keeps growing in the minds of those who knew him.

Reportedly inspired by the memory of Serge Daney and other friends of Olivier Assayas who have died of AIDS. As I was born in the same year as Assayas I know about that black crop, but because I'm a Finn, most of my contemporains who have died young have perished from alcohol. Even after decades, their personal presence is felt. "Trop tard" ("too late") is an expression that occurs here as in L'Eau froide. "Trop tôt" ("too early") would be expressive, as well.

A performance-driven movie, a film based on a strong ensemble of actors. Their performances feel so true that it is easy to forget they act. Mathieu Amalric is at his best as the homme de lettres who is moving on to new challenges. Exciting are also Virginie Ledoyen as the passionate Anne, François Cluzet as the thoughtful Adrien Willer, Jeanne Balibar as Jenny who regrets the end of the relationship with Gabriel, and the whole team.

There is a intentionally gritty and grainy visual quality in the movie, shot on 16 mm with a lot of handheld camerawork, largely in medium shots and close-ups.

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