Mia Hansen-Løve is GFT’s latest CineMaster
Four of Hansen-Løve’s films screen at GFT throughout May, including EDM epic Eden and knockout Isabelle Huppert drama Things to Come
A sure thing doesn’t exist in the movie business, although Mia Hansen-Løve might be the exception to that rule. This talented French filmmaker has made five knockout films in her decade-long directing career, with each new one better than the last. Hansen-Løve’s sixth film, Maya, is likely to appear on the festival circuit later this year, and we wouldn't bet against this hot streak continuing.
You’ve the opportunity to look back at Hansen-Løve’s small but rich body of work next month as Glasgow Film crown her their latest CineMaster. Four of her five films are screening in the GFT series, beginning with her breakthrough Father of My Children. The term ‘spoiler alert’ doesn’t do justice to an event that happens midway through this 2009 drama, and we wouldn’t dream of revealing what happens to cause a rupture in the film’s narrative, but we can say this story of a overworked Parisian film producer (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) and his relationship with his family is a film of two halves, and both are extraordinary.
Next in GFT’s CineMaster’s series is 2011 coming-of-age film Goodbye First Love, an incisive portrayal of young love and its lasting aftershocks. The film opens with French teenager Camille (Lola Créton) on a blissful first holiday with her boyfriend, and follows the young woman on a decade-long journey as she moves on with her life after her bae goes travelling overseas and dumps her by letter.
When we spoke to Hansen-Løve about the film on its UK release, she discussed her tendency to make expansive films despite her modest budgets. "In a way, I think it's more natural for me to tell a story that stretches over many years than to tell a story over a very short time" she says. "The only way I know how to express the feelings I want to express through my films is by showing different moments in a life, and how the past resonates into the present, to show the connection of this moment."
Hansen-Løve does something similar in Eden, the story of the French house-music scene in the 90s and 00s as told through the blood-shot eyes of Paul (Félix de Givry), a DJ who doesn’t quite make the big time. For inspiration, she mined the experiences of her older brother Sven, whose DJing career similarly fizzled out, and her friends on the scene. When we spoke to Hansen-Løve about Eden, she described it as a sort of vampire movie, with DJ Paul being an eternally youthful creature of the night.
“It’s strange, actually, to see people who spend their lives in nightclubs, who don’t sleep at night, take drugs and alcohol, some of them die, but some of them seem to stay as if they were 25 forever,” she said. And like in all tales of eternal youth, this blessing eventually becomes a curse. “Girls come and go and leave again, people die, the music changes – everything changes except [Paul]. He’s just like a vampire who stays young forever. At first you think it’s a power, but then it gets quite sad at some point.”
Glasgow Film’s celebration of Hansen-Løve comes to a close with her finest film to date: Things to Come, the study of a Parisian academic whose life takes some unexpected turns late in the game. The film rests on the shoulders of Isabelle Huppert at her most imperial, which makes seeing her get rattled as curveballs continue to get thrown her way in middle-age all the more moving. It’s a wonderful, inspiring film about self-sufficiency and survival. Like all of Hansen-Løve’s films, its pleasures are nuanced, balanced perfectly between euphoria and melancholy of life.
When we asked Hansen-Løve about this dichotomy of emotions in her films, she said: “I guess the emotion that makes me write always comes from these mixed feelings; it’s never black or white.” If bittersweet is your flavour of choice, Hansen-Løve is the filmmaker for you.
GFT's full Mia Hansen-Løve: CineMaster season
Father of My Children on 35mm: Tue 8 May, 8.25pm – tickets here
Goodbye First Love: Tue 15 May, 8.25pm – tickets here
Eden: Tue 22 May, 8pm – tickets here
Things to Come: Tue 29 May, 8.40pm – tickets here