Watching a film by Olivier Assayas
is a little like wandering into the bedroom of a teenager, taking in the aesthetic décor that clings to his or her walls and bookshelves—posters, pop records, hastily cut-out collages of idols, and literature—and being left to draw a logical conclusion based on these ephemeral scraps. This idea of collage, assembling or reinventing an identity, has always been a concept inherent to punk and youth culture: British punk historian Jon Savage
coined the term “living collage” to describe European teenagers in the 1970s who tore apart thrifted vintage clothing at the seams to fuse and repurpose them with safety pins. Assayas’ work is essentially the filmic equivalent of that same idea: he populates his frames with torrents of ideas and surfaces and lets loose cinematographers Yorick Le Saux
and Eric Gautier
to pan wildly, struggling to encapsulate everything into their widescreen, handheld compositions.