Director Olivier Assayas discusses his autobiographical Something In The Air and shares a few thoughts on film criticism and the state of Hollywood filmmaking today. (Playlist) (The image is from Assayas' Summer Hours, one of my favorite films.)
Q: How do you feel about Hollywood cinema in general these days?
A: To me what is happening now in the U.S. is ultimately the big franchise movies, they are closer to animation than to actual cinema, to me there is an increasing gap between movies that involve special effects and movies that involve actual individuals that you are filming in real light. It’s major. And I do respect some of the visuals and the inspiration of big Hollywood movies, but it’s becoming two completely different art forms -- it involves completely different skills and completely different knowledge.
What I love about movies is the possiblity to capture reality. I don’t believe in enhanced reality, I don’t believe in tampering with reality because if you start touching special effects you end up thinking that, for instance, this view through the window, it’s not good enough. Why can’t the sky be blue? We are in Sweden, it’s winter, why not have a little snow falling, it would be cute? And it becomes conventional, it becomes some sort of archetypal vision of the world. I’m really happy to be filming someone and in the background have something that feels real -- I don’t want to control it. I’m interested in the way it is, as it is: random.