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Olivier Assayas
France 1986 / 88’
Winter’s Child

The title of Olivier Assayas’s debut film, borrowed from a Joy Division song, promises a large dose of post-punk energy, a reflection of the state in which we find the protagonists entering adulthood and groping blindly in an attempt to blaze their own trail. The profound identity crisis that accompanies coming of age is a subject that is repeated over and over again in the works of the French director, as are the themes of betrayal, breaking up, responsibility and father-son relations. On a rainy night, in a parked car, Anne kisses Ivan and then kisses Henri. Life seems to be about having fun, free of the need to make decisions—but only until the next scene, when all three get out of the car and break into a music store to steal the equipment they’ve been dreaming about. The situation spirals out of control and leads to a tragedy that puts an end to their insouciance once and for all, reshaping the relationship between Anne, Henri and Ivan and impacting the future of all three. Although it starts out like a detective story, Assayas’s film turns into a psychological game, and its rhythm and atmosphere are dictated by music that ranges from the punk rock of New Order and Woodentops to Gabriel Yared’s atmospheric soundtrack. Angry, rebellious and at the same time fragile—that’s adolescence à la Assayas.

Małgorzata Sadowska


Venice IFF 1986 - FIPRESCI Prize

Olivier Assayas

Born in Paris in 1955, Olivier Assayas is the son of screenwriter Jacques Rémy (whose real name was Raymond Assayas). It was at his father’s side that Olivier took his first steps in the industry while still a teenager. He began making his first short amateur films a little while later. At the same time, he launched his career as a film critic, writing for the famous Cahiers du cinéma. He made his full-length debut with Disorder in 1986. Since then, he has made a number of films that have ensured him a position as one of the most important directors in European cinema. His most acclaimed works include Irma Vep, Something in the Air (an award winner for best screenplay at the Venice Festival) and Clouds of Sils Maria.

Selected filmography

1986 Bezład / Désordre / Disorder

1989 Zimowe dziecko / L’enfant de l’hiver / Winter’s Child

1991 Paryż się budzi / Paris s’éveille / Paris Awakens

1993 Nowe życie / Une nouvelle vie / A New Life

1994 Zimna woda / L’eau froide / Cold Water

1996 Irma Vep

1998 Koniec sierpnia, początek września / Fin août, début septembre / Late August, Early September

2000 Ścieżki uczuć / Les destinées sentimentales / Sentimental Destinies

2002 Demonlover

2004 Czysta / Clean

2007 Przejście / Boarding Gate

2008 Pewnego lata / L’heure d’été / Summer Hours

2010 Carlos (TV series)

2012 Po maju / Après mai / Something in the Air

2014 Sils Maria / Clouds of Sils Maria 

2016 Personal Shopper

2018 Doubles vies / Non-Fiction

Cast & Crew

director Olivier Assayas
screenplay Olivier Assayas
cinematography Denis Lenoir
editing Luc Barnier
music Gabriel Yared
cast Wadeck Stanczak, Ann-Gisel Glass, Lucas Belvaux
producer Jean Luc Ayach, Claude-Éric Poiroux
production Forum Productions International
sales MK2
language French
colouration colour