| || ||reverse shot speaks to Olivier Assayas |
Q: Let’s talk about the notion of the unconscious in relation to demonlover. This film encapsulates this time so well, yet you so often discuss it as if you shot it directly from the hip…
A: I don’t want to be misunderstood on demonlover and I’m very concerned with that. It’s a film that deals with a lot of ideas, and a lot of things which are very abstract, but it is really a film that comes very much from the gut. It was written very fast, totally on instinct and was not a theoretical film at all. It was a way of letting my subconscious express whatever weird connections it could create. It was very much about following my intuition as far as it could take me, which is something I have never done in any of my films. Demonlover is a film that says things. It’s a very coherent film in the way it creates its own world, and relates to things we are experiencing. It’s a political film in many ways. But it is also poetry. It is images connecting to other images connecting to other images and whatever circulation happens within the film is the kind of circulation you have within poetry. And poetry is not the kind of thing that you can theoreticize, it is something you have to experience, you have to live, and feel before you express.
Q: This issue will feature a feminist critique of demonlover, a piece discussing it as an allegory about the current state of distribution, one about the disappearance of the flesh in the wake of new technology, and something on the influence of new media in film. Demonlover seems designed to inspire a huge range of responses.
A: I think it’s trying to connect cinema with the experience of the modern world. It’s trying to function on many different levels and the whole point of the film is to say that all of these different levels do connect. Usually films, even films I admire or am fascinated with, disconnect those levels, or concentrate on one level. This film is trying to say: “All these things are connected. I’m not sure how, I’m not sure why, but the one thing I know is that all of this is connected.” And connected to a bigger picture, which is the way economy is ruling and transforming our world. It’s about the struggle that is going on between humanity and economy—the circulation of commodity.
Q: I think vdemonlover is one of those rare examples of a text taking the next step in these kinds of examinations—a film can be “political,” but still can ignore the roots of whatever it is you’re dealing with. For you to talk about economy really seems very appropriate—it is so often that very ignored root cause, and I think demonlover is about nothing if not economy.
A: It’s very interesting this idea you have of “taking the next step” because I think if there was one idea that was really powerfully present for me when I was writing, or trying to imagine this film, it was: “this is my shot of trying to deal with the next step.” Just go where French cinema has not gone before me. Try to at least make sense of the world we live in.