Something in the Air [Apres Mai]

"Good"

Something in the Air [Apres Mai] Review


This sharply well-made French drama tackles an offbeat chapter in history with real skill, although the densely populated screenplay and fragmented approach to storytelling makes it difficult to engage with. Essentially a series of relatively disconnected sequences involving young people coming of political age, it offers plenty of material for the actors to grab hold of. But making sense of the overall story is difficult.

The period in question is the early 1970s, in the wake of the student uprisings of the late-60s. Just outside Paris, art student Gilles (Metayer) joins the anarchist movement with his friends Alain and Jean-Pierre (Armand and Conzelmann), littering the streets with anti-establishment fliers and bombing buildings with graffiti. But when one stunt goes wrong, they're forced to hide out for the summer in Italy with other activists. With his girlfriend (Combes) in London, Gilles starts seeing Christine (Creton). But she leaves with another guy, forcing Gilles to re-evaluate everything about his life and his dreams for the future.

Gifted filmmaker Assayas packs the film with references to iconic books, movies and artists, as these young people develop their own sense of who they are and what kind of art they hope to create. But this adds a level of literary intensity to the film that's not easy to join in on. Instead of indulging in typically teenaged hedonism (like the Americans they meet along the way), these kids are eerily serious. They can't just enjoy music and sex: it has to mean something profound for them.

At the centre of the film, Gilles is an engaging character, nicely played by Metayer as a young man trying to find his voice as a painter. His awkward relationships are realistic, and all of the actors reveal telling details in their characters. But there are so many of them that they crowd out Gilles' journey. Assayas stages each scene organically (the clashes between students and police are especially realistic), and the film catches the period beautifully with sunny cinematography and groovy music. Although by trying to tell so many stories, Assayas has made a film that's fascinating but never involving.

 

Rich Cline



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Charles Gillibert, Nathanael Karmitz

Starring: Clément Métayer as Gilles, Lola Créton as Christine, Felix Armand as Alain, Carole Combes as Laure, India Menuez as Leslie, Hugo Conzelmann as Jean-Pierre, Mathias Renou as Vincent, Léa Rougeron as Maria, Martin Loizillon as Rackam le Rouge, André Marcon as Father of Gilles, Simon-Pierre Boireau as Jean-René, Laurent Ramacciotti as Security guard / Coach, Philippe Paimblanc as Principal, Alain Gluckstein as French teacher, Jean-François Ragot as Philosophy teacher, Lionel Dray as Activist filmmaker, Guillaume Saurrel as Activist filmmaker, Jeanne Candel as Member of Porc-Épic Collective, Adrien Lamande as Member of Porc-Épic Collective, Paul Spera as Carl, as Actress (London), as Folk singer, Félix de Givry as High School student activist, Jean Garreau as High School student activist, Louise Chennevière as Activist, Manuel Mazaudier as Gérard, Maxime Jullia as Gérard’s brother (as Maxime Julia), Sylvain Jacques as Jean-Serge

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.