Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Something in the Air (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Something in the Air

Oliver Assayas (Summer Hours) displays his usual naturalistic technique with his latest "Something in the Air" which highlights some of the protests that occurred in France during 1968.

The film has an authentic color and flavor that captures the restless time perfectly, and although the tone is understated and a bit subdued, the genuine feel of its characters make this story intriguing.

There is enough existentialism to keep your eyes spinning.

Gilles (Clement Metayer) is a high school student and aspiring painter who watches the unrest in front of his eyes. He is somewhat passive but readily agrees to participate in anarchist graffiti: blood-red As encapsulated in circles that peer from countless buildings like eyeballs of change. Gilles is silently broken over his girlfriend Laure (Carole Combs) who is a bohemian drifter attracted to dissipated men. Gilles pours himself into his art, yet inwardly feels that his actions are of no  consequence. He starts with copying Jackson Pollock and ends with Edward Gorey. He bears a striking resemblance to Bud Cort in "Harold & Maude".

One night during a graffiti  outing, Gilles  throws a bottle rocket and the small explosion puts a security guard in a coma. Suspense ensues as to whether Gilles is going to let his conscience get the best of him, or if his comrades will squeal like a rat.

"Something in the Air" possesses a bit of suspicion and paranoia, but where the film shines is in its pot haze and its active lethargy in depicting its youngsters as restless with no place to go as they are still in high school.

A few voyage to London, Italy and Spain talking of contacts with anarchist friends, yet they are still under their parents' stifling wings.

Gilles has an  argument with his status quo father who works at Pinewood Studios. Gilles takes refuge in folk parties and collective rock concerts, only half committed to the anti-capitalist cause.

And as Gilles does, all his friends follow. Laure enervates into a lavender haze of heroin and new love Christine (Lola Cretin) works at a cafe, her protests placed in second. Even his mobilizer-guru Alain (Felix Armand) gives up his capital A to pursue painting.

Gilles retreats into the world of film and daydreams of his lost love Laure, in the manner of a Trauffaut or Woody Allen ala "Stardust Memories".

The final third of the film is watery and vague, but nonetheless retains its nostalgia for youth on fire.

The message of Something in the Air is that the politics of Left and Right swing back and forth, but that the lasting essence of being is through creative mediums. Like its characters on-screen the story is somewhat on middle ground, but the action within is entertaining and accessible as a time capsule of France and the world.

Write Ian at redtv_2005@yahoo.com

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