BAM’s Olivier Assayas series continues tonight with his breakout film, 1994’s 60s-set coming-of-age Cold Water. You’re really running out of excuses not to see this film, as it’s returning to BAM after just a couple months. When it played there in August, as part of a selected-by-the-Safdie-Brothers series, The L’s David Phelps had this to say:
Cold Water, from 1994, is Olivier Assayas’ last doomed love romance, structured as teen transcendence (the lead teen is Virginie Ledoyen), before his characters and films take on cosmic contemplation of stratigraphic problems. The first part is teen clichés, expulsions and shoplifting, done in usual harried, present-tense glimpses, though the time is post-’68. The last pastiches Mouchette. But the second seems more concrete and abstract, evolving Andrei Rublev and 47 Ronin into the 70s with fugue-like play between subject and camera: teens build a fire outside a ramshackle fortress, burn furniture, hook up, dance, and play, replay, and cut off CCR, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen off-screen. The camera slowly tracks the walls as if, like the teens, to buttress the place from history but vainly pin down a moment in time and structure in place that’s as evasive as fire or teen ideals of communism, nature, and a punk-rock treehouse. Assayas’ movies, like his characters, are so lost in a recognizable reality that it feels like a dream they can’t and won’t wake up from.
After the jump, a clip (identified on YouTube as “smoking to bob dylan”):