Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

NYFF Interview: Olivier Assayas Talks Music, The Occupy Movement & The Movies That Inspired 'Something In The Air'

Photo of Christopher Bell By Christopher Bell | The Playlist October 11, 2012 at 3:04PM

Sex, drugs, riots, and rock 'n' roll are just a few of the cultural elements within Olivier Assayas’ latest film, “Something in the Air.” Following high-school revolutionary Gilles (Clément Métayer) and his various friends, the filmmaker tracks burgeoning French political awakening and a coming-of-age story with a keen eye, basing much of the plot on his own life in the 1970s. Gilles wavers between radical commitment and more personal, artistic aspirations while also grappling with love and loss. We caught the movie at the Venice Film Festival and dug it, complementing the movie on its substance and sharp look.
0
Oliver Assayas, Something In The Air

Sex, drugs, riots, and rock 'n' roll are just a few of the cultural elements within Olivier Assayas’ latest film, “Something in the Air.” Following high-school revolutionary Gilles (Clément Métayer) and his various friends, the filmmaker tracks burgeoning French political awakening and a coming-of-age story with a keen eye, basing much of the plot on his own life in the 1970s. Gilles wavers between radical commitment and more personal, artistic aspirations while also grappling with love and loss. We caught the movie at the Venice Film Festival and dug it, complementing the movie on its substance and sharp look.

In support of its screening at the New York Film Festival, Assayas sat down with us to talk about the way music shaped the film, his view on the Occupy movement, and a few movies he kept in the back of his mind during production. IFC will be handling its theatrical release, but in the meantime, check out the international trailer right here.

Music Lover
Music plays a prominent role in ‘Air’ for obvious reasons -- what politically charged teenager isn’t obsessing over albums at that age? Featuring songs from progressive '70s psych-rock/psych-folk bands like Amazing Blondel, Tangerine Dream, Soft Machine and The Incredible String Band, Assayas has always been influenced by his favorite tunes but often found himself playing trial and error in the editing room, as the songs he was originally inspired by made their way into the film in other ways -- thus including the actual songs felt redundant. His new film, though, was a different story. “Here there's no space between the music and the narrative. It's the music of those times: I wanted to have a Syd Barrett song, same with Nick Drake. That was the music that I actually listened to when I was drawing, so it's like they belonged there,” he said. The choice of tunes also reflected a bigger idea he wanted to put forth, a sort-of “tribute” to the 1970s. “In its own way I wanted it to represent the underground culture in the '70s. I knew I didn't want anything that was mainstream, I wanted to use stuff that people never use in movies.” The film also includes songs by Phil Ochs, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band and The Incredible String Band founder Robin Williamson.

Something In The Air
Autobiographical Aspects & Protesting
It’s difficult to talk about the film without noting that it’s likely autobiographical -- it’s centered on the exact decade that Assayas grew up in, and the lead character goes from revolutionary sprout to painter to filmmaker along the course of the movie. The filmmaker does admit that it is based off of his own life, but stresses that he eventually allowed ‘Air’ to veer off and become its own creature. “To recreate the mood of those times and to get it right, I used incidents of my youth because at least I was able to work on something solid. I kind of built the film from there, which means I constantly moved away from autobiography because you don't really do a biography on film. It's like fiction. When you write fiction you start from your own experience and you use your own emotions and that's what makes it genuine in a certain way,” he stated. As for whether he was involved with the various riots and protesting, Assayas had one simple answer. “You had to, there was no choice,” he declared.

This article is related to: Olivier Assayas, Something In The Air, Interview, Interviews


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates