Clean

Co-presented by the French Film and TV Office

The world revealed in Olivier Assayas’ films – cosmopolitan, kinetic, and ever-shrinking – has never felt more personal than it does in 2004‘s Clean, a wrenching and redemptive portrait of addiction. Clean finds the director working again with Irma Vep star Maggie Cheung (whose bracing multi-lingual performance earned a Best Actress award at Cannes) to tell the story of Emily, a former junkie struggling to collect the fragments of her life after the overdose of her rock-star lover. Aided by Eric Gautier’s brilliant, restless handheld cinematography, Assayas propels Cheung through crowded rock clubs, bustling restaurants and the dense urban landscapes of Paris and London, drawing both on her emotional depth and on the singular physicality that made her a Hong Kong action star. Perfectly cast as her bereaved father-in-law, Nick Nolte balances her desperation with wounded stoicism; the study in vulnerability that emerges between them is one of Assayas’ starkest and most moving.

Dir. Olivier Assayas, 2004, 35mm, 111 min.