Film4: PREMIERE Wednesday 7 October, 12.40am
After the lyrical Summer Hours and epic Carlos (as in Jackal), Olivier Assayas returns to the semi-autobiographical setting of his 1994 international breakout picture, Cold Water. Something in the Air’s original French title is Après Mai, and its episodic story indeed takes place three years after the explosive events of May 1968 in Paris.
Bohemian student Clément Métayer is Assayas’ ‘factional’ stand-in and, along with all the other quarrelsome young activists, he’s viewed affectionately by a film-maker more interested in atmosphere and nostalgia than politics. The opening police baton-swinging scene isn’t wholly representative of a wryly mocking film that looks askance at the early-70s British film industry before fading away into a sunny Tuscany soap opera.
The eclectic music’s good – boulevardier Kevin Ayers, heartbreaker Nick Drake, crazy diamond Syd Barrett – but, despite that evocative Anglo title, not a note of Thunderclap Newman.