Now recognised as one of French cinema’s finest talents courtesy of such modern classics as Carlos, Summer Hours and Clouds of Sils Maria, Olivier Assayas started out as a critic and screenwriter before making his debut feature as director in 1986.
Disorder tells the tale of a post-punk band whose friendships are tested when a music store robbery turns fatal. It marked Assayas as a talent to be reckoned with. The intimate story of Winter’s Child built on that reputation and showed his remarkable gifts with actors, while in Irma Vep Assayas turned his attention to the French film industry to provide a mid-90s amalgam of François Truffaut’s Day for Night and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Beware of a Holy Whore, delighting audiences around the world and featuring a stand-out turn by Maggie Cheung playing a version of herself. Meanwhile, the startlingly prescient neo-noir/cyberhorror masterpiece Demonlover, takes a darker turn to present a chilling exploration of the nexus between sex and violence available at the click of a button, riffing on Cronenberg’s Videodrome and with an iconic score by art-rock pioneers, Sonic Youth.
Witty, heartfelt, and daring, Assayas remains one of the most interesting international filmmakers working today. No two films are quite alike. His work is vital, unexpected, and unmissable for any true lover of film.