Olivier Assayas returns, after his complex Demonlover (2002), which had a mixed reception, to a more clear form of narration, but without adjusting his ambitions downwards. The film focuses on the famous Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung. She carries the film. She plays the drug-addicted widow of a rock star who dies from his addiction at the beginning of the film. She is also a mother, but her father-in-law has custody of the child and doesn't feel like giving the child to a junkie. She tries to conquer her addiction with mixed results. It is no secret or gossip that Assayas has a special relationship with his actress. It is not the first time in film history that a director placed his muse so pontifically in front of the camera and in the centre of his story. Not always on the level of Von Sternberg and Dietrich, but here there is no possible doubt: the special chemistry between film maker and leading lady lifts the film far beyond what another director would have been able to achieve with the same material or even with the same actress. Assayas is a cineast who consistently has an ability to evoke the sense of a generation, with the locations always being the right locations and the music - yes, above all the music - always being the right music. Partly as a result, and hence partly through Maggie Cheung, this has become a moving and convincing film. Because the mood is right, and so is the feeling. (GjZ)

Olivier Assayas
France, United Kingdom, Canada
English, French, Cantonees
Rectangle Productions, Haystack Productions, Rhombus Media, Edouard Weil, Niv Fichman, Xavier Marchand
The Works Film Group
Olivier Assayas
Brian Eno
Jeanne Balibar, Maggie Cheung, Don McKellar