After over two decades in limbo, Cold Water has come to America, and it hits the Wex this Friday and Saturday. Olivier Assayas' breakout film, based loosely on his memories of his own teenage years, was warmly received overseas when it was released there in 1994, but several obstacles kept it from getting a proper US release until now. The biggest was the expensive and complicated process required to re-secure rights to the music featured in an epic dusk-to-dawn party scene, à la Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused, after the sales company that represented the film went bankrupt. The selections reflected the filmmaker's youthful obsession with American rock.
As Assayas explains in the press notes for Cold Water, which has undergone a 4K restoration to heighten the beauty and clarity in its original 16mm format, "I was using music that I loved, and only music that I loved, which was something that echoed very deeply for me. The party scene was only a few pages in the screenplay and very vague because I had no idea what I would shoot exactly. The way I approached that very long night party scene was by structuring it with music, with tracks that would cover the specific emotions and the way they change during the night. I had the dramatic elements of that whole night, but it was a way of balancing the party, the songs, and the narrative. Everything on the soundtrack was part of the culture in the fall of 1972."
Songs from the film include classic tracks by Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Nico, Bob Dylan, Uriah Heep, and Roxy Music—in other words, the foundation for a great playlist. To make it complete, we supplemented the nine songs from the track list for Cold Water with nearly a dozen other great songs from the fall of '72, by artists such as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, and T. Rex. Enjoy.
Image: Virginie Ledoyen in Cold Water, courtesy of Janus Films.