Après Mai (2012)

I always appreciate a French or European movie. Unlike Hollywood, these guys aren’t focusing on a box office success rather than the content of their film. And whether they amaze or flop, they still try new approaches, and they still focus on things that are actually interesting. Like the aftermath of May 1968 in France.

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This is the story of Gilles (Clément Métayer), a young artist who’s caught up in the political events of his time. From protests to paintings, France to Italy, Laure (Carole Combes) to Christine (Lola Créton), we follow Gilles in an important phase of his life with glimpses of the era he lived in.

There are many elements in Olivier Assayas’ movie to be admired. He does a terrific job recreating the 1970s, starting the movie with a protest and Syd Barrett’s Madcap Laughs, to cycle through multiple fields and subjects. I personally appreciated the politics and the interesting conversations about some books and the political situation of the 1970 most, though we also see the filmmaking scene, the journalism scene, the psychedelic and Rock N’ Roll music scene, and a few more.

But, I still can’t tell what Assayas was trying to communicate. Sure, he follows the life of an artist – his decisions, love life, and the start of his career-, and portrays it in a very good way, though the movie didn’t feel like it was trying to achieve an end. If Assayas made the movie to be educative, then he has all my appreciation, but it felt more like he was trying to say something else that, regretfully, couldn’t be understood.

So it’s safe to say that Assayas does a admirable job in the actualization of post-1968 France, but his movie missed the essence that would make it feel whole. I liked it, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Rating: 7.0/10. Ambitious and educative, but lacks purpose. 

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