Review: Something In The Air

Something In The Air

Something In The Air - Credit: Archant

Olivier Assayas' previous film was an epic take on Carlos the Jackal, the revolutionary terrorist who cut a murderous swathe through the 1970s.

His next is a much gentler, more forgiving piece about the social tumult which provided the backdrop for such figures.

Over here, the film has been smeared with a wishy washy title that is benignly clueless as to the film's subject. Its actual title Après Mai cuts straight to the point – this is about a generation trying to find its place in a world where the May 1968 revolution didn't happen but where the overthrow of bourgeois society is still taken as read, or rather a matter of historical determinism.

Our guide is a young artist Gilles (Clément Métayer). He is first seen scrawling an anarchy symbol into his school desk.

The anarchy symbol is a sure sign of an anti-establishment cop-out so it is no surprise that during the summer of 1971, Gilles is able to float loosely between Marxists, Trotskyites, Maoists, revolutionary agitprop film-makers and hippies, asserting his revolutionary passion without doing much more than sell a few student newspapers.

The film is a skittish flit through the counter culture scene.

It doesn't offer much more than snapshots of situations and characters before moving on. It is restless and yet lethargic, oddly unengaged with what it has chosen to show us.

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Initially, it seems like this will be a clear-headed, unsentimental look at the failings and casualties of the revolutionary movements of the late 60s/early 70s. But, increasingly, its tone becomes more nostalgic and you realise that this is little more than a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale.


Director: Olivier Assayas

Starring: Clément Métayer, Lola Créton, Felix Armand, Carole Combes and India Salvor Menuez

Length: 122 mins