Mia Hansen-Love was only a tween when her fourth feature, “Eden,” begins. An epic look at the club scene as viewed by a DJ (Felix de Givry), it covers 1992 to late 2013 — a period during which she did go out. More importantly, her brother, Sven, was a key DJ in the “French touch” movement, which birthed Daft Punk. Hansen-Love based her lead character on Sven, who cowrote the script. The result is a film so authentic that it doesn’t play like a typical club movie — which Hansen-Love (“The Father of My Children,” “Goodbye First Love”) had zero interest in making.
This isn’t shot like a club movie. The camerawork is naturalistic, whereas most movies on the subject like to edit to the fast beats and make it feel like the viewers are clubbing themselves.
I didn’t want to make a film about the club scene that would look like a club film. I’m not interested in that aesthetic. There are great films done this way, or great scenes in movies, where it’s editing with very short cuts. You see extras dancing in an exaggerated way and everyone’s enthusiastic. That for me doesn’t have anything to do with the reality of clubs. They have more to do with the conventions of cinema. I always try to make a cinema that is free. If we wanted to make a film about the club scene and the “French touch” movement, how would we tell it in a way that we say something true about it, and not make one more film that fulfils what everyone expects it to be? I’m sure people will be disappointed with the film because of that. I mean it, and I’m OK with it. It doesn’t give you some of the things you expect from this sort of film. It tries to look at it in a realistic way — though for me, realism has to do with poetry, but let’s say it has a realistic perspective. Ultimately I hope that will give the film a universality.
“Eden,” like the films of your husband, Olivier Assayas (recently of “Clouds of Sils Maria”), tend to use music as part of scenes, and tend to have characters and the camera ignore it.
I try to find my own rhythm. It’s very seductive to try and imitate the rhythm of songs, or to try and imitate the effects of drugs. But I think ultimately you can’t, or that you just wind up simulating other films. The difficulty — it was a very stimulating difficulty — was to find my own style, my own look that would be mine, and not try to copy someone who’s taking ecstasy.
This is a pretty hairy look at aging, and especially of aging out of a job and a passion you thought you’d be in for life.
His problem is he doesn’t feel time passing. At some point he wakes up and realizes 15 or 20 years have gone by. His tragedy is he doesn’t know how to grow up, as if he was stuck in his youth forever. He actually does age but he doesn’t feel it. My brother, he didn’t change so much over the years — which is strange, because if you live at night, you take drugs, you drink alcohol, you’d think you’d end up like a freak. But for him not at all. It seems like drugs and alcohol keep people young, when they don’t kill them. That’s what happened with my brother. I remember him getting totally depressed when people told him, “You look so young.” He’s seven years older than me and people keep asking about my younger brother. He really does look young. There was this scene in my film that I cut out at the end where he’s talking to this little girl on the beach, and she asks him how old he is. He says, “What do you think?” She says, “You look old.” He says, “I’m so glad you said that.”