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

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

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.