Review by Ron Radosh

Radosh is a reformed radical and author.
Finally! A Movie That Tells The Truth About 1960s Radicals -truth-about-1960s-radicals/

Finally, a movie has arrived that treats the story of the New Left honestly and in a realistic, mature manner. That film is not Robert Redford’s dreadful The Company You Keep, a paean to the Weather Underground, but the movie by the French director Olivier Assayas, Something in the Air. It takes place in various European locales in the summer of 1971, when the hopes of the European revolutionaries were shattered after the failure of 1968 to lead to revolution. Assayas’ film covers an assorted group of European New Leftists and some American tourist counterparts as they attempt to both get on with their lives and, for some, to keep alive their crushed hopes in a period of ideological and political retreat.

Assayas, who made the quintessential and powerful biographical movie Carlos about Carlos the Jackal, the Left’s most well-known ’70s and 80’s terrorist, now turns his attention in particular to the plight of the young graduating high school student Gilles, played by Clement Metayer, and his new girlfriend, Christine, played by Lola Creton. Each takes different paths. Gilles is guilt ridden over his desire to become an artist and study painting instead of serving the revolution, while Christine, plagued with guilt over her bourgeois existence, opts instead to live with an older man in a revolutionary collective and to devote herself to the task of organizing the proletariat in France and Italy. (All she does, we learn, is shop, cook and clean for the male comrades, as well as provide sex.)


Except I think Ron Radosh was wrong about Christine's background. She makes oblique reference to Laure's freedom as an artist and later that her dad works at a nuclear plant. She may have been middle class but she was not bourgeois and that is why, perhaps, she tries to help working class people make films and getbtheir voices heard. Unlike all the other protagonists. But yes she is reduced to a housewife by the older man she's living with who describes feminists as lesbians, but this last insult is by no means confined to French bourgeois men.

Movement ends, intent continues;
Intent ends, spirit continues


GREAT review, Ron.