There's something about modern films set in the late 60's & 70's (Dazed & Confused, Almost Famous, the first half of Boogie Nights, parts of Forrest Gump, etc) that sometimes rubs me the wrong way (this is a personal problem, not yours, but I'd still like to share it with you). There’s this unspoken vibe they give off almost like bragging as if to say; back in the day we had stuff like vinyl & and GOOD music, revolution, the black panthers & the Vietnam War. We smoked weed & dropped acid but we were still productive and made a difference. This is how it was in our time. Sometimes I watch these movies and I just wanna say; get over yourself. Something In The Air has a hint of that stuff but not like the afformentioned films.
Maybe I'm so much in to being an 80's baby and have had my limit of older Generations talking down to me about how I don't know anything simply because I'm younger makes me feel kinda "blah" about their era. The nostalgia in the Something In The Air is a bit heavy at times. Like, it almost feels TOO "70's". Plus I don't relate too (and don't really wanna relate too) things like hippies, pseudo militants or sitting around a bonfire smoking weed talking about revolution, philosophy & change or other annoying things that makes me role my eyes. Something In The Air is full of that stuff. Don't get me wrong, I've come around to liking this but I can never LOVE it like I do Demonlover.
In Something In The Air Assayas gives us a glimpse in to his life as a teenager, how he eventually got in to film, the social change that was going on in Europe and the revolution that was...in the air. The young Bressonian characters that the film focuses on (who are loosely based on real people from Assayas' past) have some kind of drive & determination to follow their passions, but at the same time they also also come off as apathetic, almost blank and blahzay about life as they lay around looking pretty and getting high.
|The 400 Blows (Truffaut)|
Gilles/Assayas' entry in to filmmaking starts through painting & sketching, then on to visual arts (controlling those trippy slide shows in the background while rock bands perform). He then gets a job in television (thanks to his father) which eventually leads to a job in the film industry where he works his way up from the bottom as an assistant. And Gilles isn't the only character in the film who discovers a love for filmmaking. One of Gilles' love interests; Christine (played by Lola Creton) goes on to become a political filmmaker as well.
In the March/April edition of Film Comment, Olivier Assayas references Bresson's The Devil Probably as an influence which makes perfect sense when/if you get around to watching Something In The Air. It’s almost like the Gilles character was plucked from the background of The Devil Probably and placed in Assayas' film with his long shaggy hair and borderline monotone/emotionless delivery. The beauty of Something In The Air beyond the political & coming of age stuff is that it helped me realize how influential of a film The Devil Probably is. I think it’s almost on the same level as The 400 Blows or Breathless. Due to its influence on two of my personal favorite films (Taxi Driver & Stranger Than Paradise) I've been a bit fixated on Bresson's Picketpocket or even L'Argent (that film also influenced stuff I love like Henry Fool & Shadows In Paradise). But The Devil Probably's influence in French cinema just hit me all at once recently. Look at some of the recent entries on Pinnland Empire (along with older stuff like 5 Questions with Bertrand Bonello & The Cinema Of Michael Haneke). So many things branch off of it. Both Claire Denis (sorry, don’t care if you're sick reading that name on here) & Humbert Balsan (the unofficial subject of The Father Of My Children) both had background roles in the film when they were young and up & coming in the movie business. Bertrand Bonello had the actors in The Pornographer study The Devil Probably (and you can still see its influence on Bonello's later work like The House Of Tolerance & Tiresia) and its influence on Haneke's earlier films goes without saying.
|The Devil Probably (Bresson)|
For those of you not too familiar with all the films I've mentioned, imagine an altered French version of Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous (I usually make my own awesome movie comparisons but I gotta give credit to John Cribbs, the other half of the pink smoke, for the Almost Famous Comparison).