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film

Kristin Jones talks with Olivier Assayas

ITALO CALVINO ONCE DESCRIBED his primary working method as “the subtraction of weight,” an idea that also animates the latest film from the forty-four-year-old French director Olivier Assayas. Late August, Early September, which opens in New York in early July, is a story about suffering and death, but one infused with an extraordinary degree of lightness and spontaneity, stemming in part from the film’s elliptical construction and loosely sketched characters. This effortless quality is the result of years of exploration on Assayas’s part. He studied painting and literature, then wrote film criticism and screenplays before making his first feature, a stylized teen psychodrama entitled Disorder (1986). This first effort led to a string of inventive narratives featuring young people on the edge, including Winter’s Child (1989) and Paris at Dawn (1991). After enjoying an international festival

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