A 2021 Film Journey: Day 135

I am still trying to get back into the swing of things since falling off at the beginning of the month. In service of that, I am doing my doing my best to pace myself as I return to writing. While I likely would have fallen off when I did regardless, I do think my breakneck watching and writing pace from SIFF was responsible for a bit of burnout. With that in mind, even though it is the weekend, today was just a one film day while I ease myself back into this habit.

Cold Water (1994, Dir. Olivier Assayas)

Cold Water (1994) directed by Olivier Assayas • Reviews, film + cast •  Letterboxd

Before today, my experience with Olivier Assayas consisted entirely of the films he has done with Kristen Stewart – which I adore. For the next film in his ouvre that I chose to watch, I jumped 20 years back from Clouds of Sils Maria to Assayas’s tale of rebellious youth, complete with classic rock soundtrack, Cold Water. Staring Virginie Ledoyen and Cyprien Fouquet as the troublesome couple Christine and Gilles, Cold Water hits on all the staple elements for a teenage rebellion film, but never feels derivative.

While Assayas’s recent work is highlighted by quiet, ponderous moments, Cold Water shows that he has success in more kinetic moments as well. The highlight of the film comes late in the third act after Christine has escaped from the hospital in which she had been committed, and Gilles had run from home. They both coincidentally head to the same party to reunite under the backdrop of youth debauchery. Credence Clearwater Revival blares while glass and furniture are broken and burned in an energizing moment that keeps the ponderous qualities of Assayas’s later work. While the tropes may verge on the cliché, Assayas’s unique touch is ever present elevating the material.