Olivier Assayas Poster

Quotes (14)

  • I like the adventure of making films. And the adventure of making films has to do with the capacity you have of listening to your guts.
  • Ultimately, what I am most interested in is what contradicts what I have written because that's exactly where real life moves into the film.
  • I think that it's important to understand, intuitively understand, what you are doing. But when you are doing it you must follow instinct. There has to be a certain level of risk, creating images, characters, emotions, it involves something a little brutal. You must be prepared to go in areas where you lose control.
  • When I started making films, the people I was hanging out with, the scene in Paris at the time was very much musicians. So once in a while it pops up and I use it as a background. Because there are moments in life when you just have to say hello to your old friends.
  • Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) deals with an actress, who has to navigate through those different layers of reality - it is pretty much a portrait of Juliette Binoche, as she is today, not a movie with Binoche, but a movie about her. She really brings a lot of herself into this character, so it has fairly deep roots.
  • [on director Michael Mann] It's miraculous to find such a great stylist in contemporary American cinema. ["La cinémathèque imaginaire", Cine-regards]
  • I am a fan of Michael Mann; he is one of the most inspired stylists in American cinema today, but it was all there from the start. In Thief (1981), his first feature, you have echoes of Jean-Pierre Melville (it goes full circle), a sharp eye for realism, but also profound human characters with precisely drawn relationships, and great acting. Mann's fascination with a geometrical modernity, even if it is always mediated by genre filmmaking, is genuinely reminiscent of Michelangelo Antonioni - explicitly so in the last scenes of Heat (1995). [Criterion Coll., 2015]
  • Movies are expressions of our imagination. They are expressions of our conscious and of our subconscious. I think that movies can be analyzed the way dreams are analyzed.
  • [on first spotting Kristen Stewart in Into the Wild (2007) She instantly stood out. It was kind of, "Who's that girl?" It didn't cross my mind that I would ever work with her, but she really struck me. We had an informal meeting in Paris. Very early in a conversation with an actor you realise if you can function with that person or not. And I loved Kristen.
  • [on Rendez-vous (1985)] It was so important for me. I learned a lot from André Téchiné. I was a very young screenwriter - I didn't have any serious credits. I'd been writing about movies and had directed some short films, but my experience of writing screenplays had been fairly conventional. I'd been learning how to structure things in a very rational way. André challenged anything that we envisioned - we would transform our structure, reinvent it as we moved on. I also learned from André how to write for actors. I learned that a scene might have a dramatic value for the story, but it's nothing if there's nothing for an actor to do within it. That's something I hadn't grasped before - I was still a kid at the time.
  • [on whether he envisaged Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) as a companion piece to Rendez-vous (1985)] I kind of made a point of not watching Rendez-vous again [while working on Sils Maria], though I've seen it a million times. Certainly the basis of Sils Maria has its roots in Rendez-vous. It's very much about revisiting that film, which is ultimately the thing we have in common, Juliette and myself. It was really the starting point of our careers, it's something that bonded us and made us friends ever since. So, when I started imagining what film I could write for Juliette today, instantly I thought about the perspective of time, and that brought me back to Rendez-vous. What do we remember? How did it echo in our own lives? Ultimately I wanted Juliette to revisit what she was going through when we were making that film, but from the other side of the mirror. That film was so much about the path of an actress. How do you end up being ready for a major part and, more generally, for something that's been your calling? Here, it's more about revisiting that [experience], how you look back on it and try to find the same passion after time has transformed you.
  • [press conference for Personal Shopper (2016) at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival] What I tried to do in this film was to connect the reality we live in with our imagination - I think we live on both sides of that mirror. We do a job and we have our imagination and also we have the people we lost, we have our memories and it's a very inhabited solitude. And I think that the character of Maureen in this film is looking for doors; she's looking for passages between those two worlds. And somehow I was of course interested in putting this story in the context of the fashion industry which....it doesn't get more materialistic than that! It's just like the epitomy of the materialism in our modern societies and I was drawn to the idea of someone who's trying to escape it and who somehow finds salvation within the invisible - of her dreams.
  • [Cannes press conference for Personal Shopper (2016), asked about booing of the film at its screening] Movies have a life of their own. What is exciting about Cannes is that yesterday no one had seen the film, I mean basically we had not screened it so we had no idea how it plays with an audience, and now today everybody has seen it, the whole world has seen it - it's everywhere. So it's a very intense, very powerful moment and I suppose it has to do with giving birth or something - people have expectations of a film and all of a sudden the film is something else, and there is this adaptation between the film and reality, and in Cannes it's the extreme version of it. So when you come to Cannes, you're prepared - you're prepared for anything really! You just go with the flow.
  • [press conference for D'après une histoire vraie (2017) at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival] I was deeply flattered and honoured of course when Roman [Roman Polanski] thought of me to adapt the novel. I read the book; I liked it very much. I felt indeed it had the stuff of a film for Roman. So I basically placed myself in the service of Roman's vision - I'm sort of somewhere in the middle between Delphine [Delphine de Vigan] and Roman.