Late August, Early September

Director: Olivier Assayas
Year Released: 1998
Rating: 1.0

Here's a picture filled with people so consumed with themselves and a director so self-obsessed and sure of himself that he doesn't even bother presenting us a genuine story, or at least characters that could pass as three-dimensional figures. Critics all over the world drool collectively over Assayas' post-Truffautian vision, although from this picture it's really tough to tell why. There is more kissing and hugging and touching between men and women than there is in some porno (I'm guessing this is supposed to replace having individuals connect with one another on any genuine, human level and spare Mr. Assayas precious writing time) and the droning narrative conveys nothing remotely original or inspiring. With Rohmer and Godard - who also make very French films (films distinctive of the culture) - at least there is a fundamental grasp of human nature and communication (Rohmer) and a mature sense of the experimental and metaphorical (Godard). Late August, Early September is merely a foreign version of Walking and Talking, but without the sight gags and (improbable) witty dialogue: more people in their thirties lamenting their faded youth, coming to terms with their past lovers and, of course, kissing and groping new ones.