Monday, May 31, 2010
Short note on a short film: Preceding his first feature by four years, Laissé inachevé à Tokyo, Olivier Assayas' third short (he was 27 when he made it) begins, like a later Assayas, in an airport. It's interesting how, in middle-age, directors often get around to realizing the ideas and dreams of their youthful films, impulses they might have neglected for the first decade or so of their filmography in an effort to be treated as "mature." And in its invocations of silent and early sound cinema -- Vertovian confusion / substitution (an electric fan recalls an airplane propeller), Sternbergian shadow-shapes (a gambling den), Feulliadian intrigues (a slow chase through a railroad switchyard) -- it suggests, more than, say, Disorder or Cold Water, that O.A. will eventually direct Irma Vep (the use of video-taped footage -- in a black & white film, no less -- points to the surveillance state of demonlover; the woman-on-the-run -- who eventually disappears via a simple dissolve -- is Boarding Gate).