Combustible Celluloid
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With: Mathieu Amalric, Virginie Ledoyen, Francois Cluzet, Jeanne Balibar, Alex Descas
Written by: Olivier Assayas
Directed by: Olivier Assayas
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 112
Date: 09/14/1998

Late August, Early September (1999)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Double Dates

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Late August, Early September is a complete turnaround from director Olivier Assayas' last movie, the excellent Irma Vep, which starred Maggie Cheung as an actress in an ill-fated remake of a classic silent movie. This new movie is about a group of French intellectuals simply trying to relate to one another. Francois Cluzet (also in Claude Chabrol's The Swindle) stars as a published but poor writer who is dying of a mysterious disease. Mathieu Amalric is another writer who looks up to Cluzet as a hero. Amalric is between girlfriends: the older and smarter Jeanne Balibar, and the more attractive and more sexually adventurous Virginie Ledoyen. Assayas films everything with a casual hand-held camera, which is bothersome when he forgets to give us some breathing space. The characters are all properly engaging and interesting, but the story feels the same as many others I've seen.

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