IRMA VEP
1996, Janus Films, 97 min, France, Dir: Olivier Assayas

Olivier Assayas’ live-wire international breakthrough stars a magnetic Maggie Cheung as a version of herself: a Hong Kong action-movie star who arrives in Paris to play the latex-clad lead in a remake of Louis Feuillade’s classic 1915 crime serial LES VAMPIRES. What she finds is a behind-the-scenes tangle of barely controlled chaos as egos clash, romantic attractions simmer and an obsessive director (a cannily cast Jean-Pierre Léaud) drives himself to the brink to realize his vision. Blending blasts of silent cinema, martial arts flicks and the music of Sonic Youth and Ali Farka Touré into a hallucinatory swirl of postmodern cool, Assayas composes a witty reflection on the 1990s French film industry and the eternal tension between art and commercial entertainment.


SUMMER HOURS
L’HEURE D’ÉTÉ
2008, IFC Films, 108 min, France, Dir: Olivier Assayas

Juliette Binoche stars in this haunting family drama from director Olivier Assayas, which follows three siblings as they grapple with the death of their mother (Edith Scob). Tasked with dispersing their mother’s valuable assets, Adrienne (Binoche) and her brothers, Frédéric (Charles Berling) and Jérémie (Jérémie Renier), begin to realize their deeply personal attachments to their inheritance, as their childhood memories flood back into focus only to fade once more. “In spite of its modest scale, tactful manner and potentially dowdy subject matter, [the film] is packed nearly to bursting with rich meaning and deep implication.” - A. O. Scott, The New York Times.


NON-FICTION
DOUBLES VIES
2019, Sundance Selects, 107 min, France, Dir: Olivier Assayas

Olivier Assayas’ wry, slyly seductive tale of sex, lies, and literature reunites the writer-director with Juliette Binoche (CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA) and Guillaume Canet (TELL NO ONE). Set amidst the bohemian intelligentsia of the Parisian publishing world, this timely comedy traces the romantic and emotional fallout that results when a controversial writer (Vincent Macaigne) begins blurring the line between fact and fiction, using his real-life love affairs - including a passionate fling with an actress (Binoche) who happens to be married to his editor (Canet) - as fodder for his explosive new novel. Balancing dry wit with keen observations on the tensions between art, commerce, and technology, NON-FICTION is a buoyant, breezy delight from a master director at his most effortlessly brilliant. “This is a major entry in a fascinating career - a treat for the director’s devotees as well as French-cinema buffs in general. Powered by a quartet of superb performances - including another jewel-like turn from Juliette Binoche - NON-FICTION begins as a talky study of the Parisian intelligentsia, then gradually tightens its emotional grip. It’s the latest evidence of the director’s gift for tackling grave subjects with the lightest of touches…” – Jon Frosch, Hollywood Reporter.


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