Cold Water ★★★★

Surface study
Of lovers on the run.
Living in the immediate
But never destined.
Catch the fire before it's gone.

Pretty much as major as I was told, can't image what Cannes was like with this, Pulp Fiction, and Chungking Express all debuting (and to think two years later Sontag would declare cinema dead). Jake Mulligan rightly compares Assayas to Pialat, and I thought of the Dardennes, which is to say Assayas has a striking immediacy to his images and his long takes. But unlike the Dardennes, who are rushing to get to their next composition, Assayas takes pleasure in the strageness of surfaces—how hard surfaces and soft surfaces collide and interact (there's no DVD, but this is a film than demands a 35mm projection). Can't recall another film so obsessed with the look of walls. Fits in of course with the narrative of youth rebellion and its failures: Gilles and Christine want to define himself against that of their parents, teachers, and the state itself (the hard structures) and live in freedom of decadence (the moving fire). But it's a trap, something I think Assayas did better the other films I've seen by him, especially Apres Mai (which pulls it all into the political—present here but not particularly articulated). Favorite image: Christine sees Gilles at the party and her look is one of everything—fear, desire, paranoia, love, lust. She looks up and down unsure which of these to present to him before wrapping herself in his arms—her face both trapped and comforted by the jacket.