Cold Water

(L'eau froide)
France 1994. Dir: Olivier Assayas. 92 min. DCP

“One of the key French films of the ‘90s.”
JONATHAN ROSENBAUM, CHICAGO READER

NEW RESTORATION! Two years before his festival breakout Irma Vep, French critic-turned-cinéaste Olivier Assayas was already poised for international recognition with his acclaimed, Cannes-debuted fifth feature. A neo-New Wave portrait of rebellious youth in 1972, Cold Water was hampered by wide-release setbacks when its sales company went bust, its producers went bankrupt, and its music licensing — for anthemic songs by generational troubadours Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Nico, and co. — lapsed. Now, re-released in a brilliant 4K restoration, Assayas’s little-seen gem is garnering the attention it so deserved 24 years ago. Loosely based on the director’s own adolescence, the film centres on two disaffected, self-destructive, in-love teens (newcomer Cyprien Fouquet and César-nominated Virginie Ledoyen) who make a pact to escape their stifling, suburban captivity together. Its climactic set piece, a raging party at a dilapidated chateau in the woods, is a tour de force of immersive, roving camerawork and end-of-days imagery.


COARSE LANGUAGE; VIOLENCE; NUDITY; DRUG USE
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REVIEWS

“Brilliant ... In a movie that hasn't aged a day, it's a reminder that few filmmakers inhabit the present tense as powerfully as Assayas or make the ephemeral feel so exhilarating.”

LA Times | full review

"A coming-of-age masterpiece ... So wonderfully textured that even when its climactic scene is just a party where teenagers bop to one ’70s anthem after another, it stays with the viewer as a wholly sensory experience."

Pitchfork | full review