Opening 30 May 2013
Director/writer Olivier Assayas won Best Screenplay at the Venice International Film Festival 2012 for this semi-autobiographical film. The original title Après mai refers to the early ‘70s – the time after the height of the 1968 student revolt. He masterfully captures the spirit of the times – when possibilities of changing society and the political system still seemed abound; a new student generation was trying to pick up the baton and keep the revolution going.
Paris:1971. The director’s alter ego Gilles (Clément Métayer), a 17-year-old high school student with a talent for painting, is swept up in the political activism of the time. He and his friends are loosely affiliated with leftist organizations; they distribute leaflets, take part in demonstrations and street battles. On a more personal level, the relationship with his girlfriend (Carole Combes) dissolves and a new one is budding between him and an idealistic young co-activist, Christine (Lola Créton). After a guard gets seriously hurt during a protest campaign, Gilles and his friends decide to lay low for a while and travel. For Gilles this is kind of a turning point. He starts to give his life direction.
As the director looks back, he avoids sentimentalism without denying us the unquestionable romanticism of the times. He elicits authentic performances from his well-chosen cast that with few exceptions is comprised not of professional actors, but of young people who have just finished high school. The soundtrack – with music by Syd Barret, Dr. Strangely Strange, Captain Beefheart, to name a few – mirrors Assayas’ personal preferences and plays an important role in completing the portrayal of the early ‘70s the way he experienced it. (Carola A)