Movie review: ‘Something in the Air’

Clément Métayer and Lola Créton star in “Something in the Air,” Olivier Assayas’s memory play about 1971 France.
Clément Métayer and Lola Créton star in “Something in the Air,” Olivier Assayas’s memory play about 1971 France.

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Something in the Air

A clear-eyed memory play from writer-director Olivier Assayas (“Demonlover,” “Summer Hours”), “Something in the Air” is deceptively calm for a movie about the death of the ’60s. The year is 1971, and the hero, Gilles (Clément Métayer), is a lanky adolescent whose energies go almost completely into radical politics.

Still, he’s more of an observer than a talker: Gilles’s are the eyes through which Assayas sees the gradual deflating of the revolution into empty gesture. With a minimum of melodrama, a fluid camera style, and a terrific period soundtrack, “Something in the Air” is attentive to the users and the used in this generation of supposed equals. There’s no anger to the film, and what sometimes feels like passivity is really just the fond, unromantic gaze of an artist carefully considering his younger self.

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