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May 14, 2009


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Tony Dayoub

I wasn't sure if I told you this back at the NYFF, but of all the films I saw there this was one of the best, behind only Che and Desplechin's A Christmas Tale.

And I'm embarrassed to say it, but it's the only Assayas film I've seen.


Well, after this I have to go see it because Mr. C reminds certain people of Assayas. :D

Ekkehard Knörer

I completely agree with everything you say. Funny enough, though: Summer Hours wasn't really sponsored by the Musee d'Orsay. It's a strange story, as there was the idea of a Musee d'Orsay omnibus film (I think) with Assayas, Hong Sang-soo and Hou Hsiao-hsien doing each a part. This fell through because politics interfered and told the museum they were not allowed to sponsor films. The filmmakers, however, simply went ahead and secured financing in other ways and then turned up with three masterpieces (haven't seen the Hou yet, but everybody says so and I am most ready to believe it). (The latest Tsai, Visage, now shown in Cannes, actually *is* sponsored by the Louvre, though. Make of that what you will.)

I know about this Orsee/Summer Hours story from an extensive interview we did with Assayas for the upcoming issue of Cargo. In German, but we may offer the (original) English transcription some time in the future on the website. Assayas is, I can only say, an extremely smart and likeable person.

Glenn Kenny

@Ekkehard—thanks for the clarification. Almost everything I've read about the Assayas and Hou films plays up these "sponsorships;" good to know the real story.

Would love to see that interview in English some time. I've interviewed Assayas as well (http://somecamerunning.typepad.com/some_came_running/2008/12/interview-olivier-assayas-on-irma-vep-and-beyond.html), and had a couple of opportunities to hang with him more casually, and, yes, he's both brilliant and likeable; relly great company.


I went to a Q&A he did at a festival a few years ago, and I was struck by how easily he expresses his ideas: there are some fascinating filmmakers who seem to struggle to communicate in the different format, although Assayas did of course have a grounding as a Cahiers writer. I was also impressed by his absolute courtesy in dealing with even the most asinine questions that arise in these contexts (my question was, of course, utterly incisive), either from the audience or one-on-one when he lingered afterwards. I wish it were easier to see his first few features, of which I've seen only Désordre.


Well, Term Paper liked it. Actually, this gives me the opportunity to thank you, Glenn, for trumpeting this movie so highly and convincing me to see it sooner than I might have otherwise. It was pretty wonderful. One thing that struck me is that there's a pacing to this thing that most thrillers don't even have, a grasp of unfolding narrative that I also noticed in another modern French film that I was semi-recently knocked out by, the Dardennes brothers' THE CHILD. Plus, all the acting is unassailable, with beautiful sketches being rendered of even the smallest of characters. Good stuff.


No, I'm not sure what it means to "trumpet" something "highly", either.

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