Olivier Assayas on making movies and life after May ’68

Over at The Believer Logger, José Teodoro talks to director Olivier Assayas about his most recent film, Something in the Air,1 and the tension between politics and art. Assayas’s description of his own path to art—he’s compelled by the collaborative nature of movie-making—is both heartening and instructive:

To become a filmmaker, to take that giant step to make my first short film, I had to accept that I felt a little schizophrenic about all of this. What I believed in, deeply, in terms of my politics, should have made it impossible to make films. Then I made my first short film and realized that it was not alienating. There was a path towards cinema, towards art, on which you could work along with a crew, within a team, and create something that was not alienating. This was a discovery. I then had to try to make sense as to why I found in cinema something that gave me a satisfaction that work in itself could never give me.

  1. The French title is Après mai

Book review: The Book of My Lives, by Aleksandar Hemon

I wrote about Aleksandar Hemon’s new collection of essays, The Book of My Lives, for Maclean’s. The book covers such a diverse mix of subjects that it almost seems like Hemon is going for the literary equivalent of what he calls the “perfect” borscht: “ideally, it contains everything.” It’s an impressive piece of work—Hemon’s impulse to narrativize his experiences leads to writing that is sometimes excruciatingly sad, but often deeply funny, too.