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Mia Hansen-Løve: Goodbye First Love

Youthful passion and teenage melancholia colours the filmmaker's third feature film

Filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve started her career at the age of 18 as an actress in Olivier Assayas’ Fin Août, Début Septembre. Now 31, she and 57-year-old Assayas are married and have a child. For her semi-autobiographical third feature, 'Goodbye First Love', Hansen-Løve draws on her experience of youthful passion, teenager melancholia, and of meeting her future husband. Here, she tells Dazed why she chose to tell this story now.

Dazed Digital: It’s been said your films move forward by intuition. Is that a fitting description?
Mia Hansen-Løve:
 Yes I try to tell stories this way. I didn’t go to film school so I’ve never had to escape all the rules - I always feel very free. But I also pay a lot of attention to the structure of each script; the moments I want to tell.

DD: The events in your films seem to unfold without a linear plot - as things often do in life…
Mia Hansen-Løve:
 I try to make the story faithful to my own experiences. I work a lot on dialogue, but when we shoot I don’t just reproduce the script, and I don't write scenes just to give information. I trust the viewer to understand everything that has to be understood.

DD: Why did you choose to make this film now?
Mia Hansen-Løve: 
When I became a film maker I started a new life. Before that I was an adolescent, and then at one point I became an adult, and all my life became about films. I needed to reconnect me as a film maker and me as the person I was before.

DD: What is the difference between young love and a more mature relationship?
Mia Hansen-Løve: 
It's totally different but the film doesn't say one is deeper than the other. I would not say that young love is the real passion, and the other is only about reason. Falling in love with someone who is thirty years older than you, is that so rational?

DD: Camille’s beautiful wardrobe seems to hold a lot of significance – where are the clothes from?

Mia Hansen-Løve:
 Some of them are Lola’s, some we found. I pay a lot of attention to clothes, colours and shapes. I often film my characters walking, so their bags and shoes are important too; the small details, they change the way you walk.


Mia Hansen-Løve selects three films about young love:

Summer with Monika, Ingmar Bergman (1953)

The beauty of all the films I’ve chosen has to do with the youth of the actors. Harriet Andersson has such cinematic power - her sensuality, her modernity was radically different to other actresses from the same period, and you can understand why this film was so important for the nouvelle vague. Also there is poetry in the way Bergman films nature, and a cruelty in his depiction of the relationships between men and women.

Pierre and Djemila, Gérard Blain (1987)

This film is Romeo and Juliet but on the subway. A Frenchman and a Nigerian girl fall in love, but the situation is impossible because of their families. I love the simplicity and the sadness of the film – there is something true about the tragedy, but it was very badly received. Blain, who was originally an actor of the nouvelle vague, is underrated as a film maker. I would say he is the real inheritor of Bresson.

Le Jeune Werther, Jacques Doillon (1993)

This film is about the melancholy of young people, rather than young love in particular. It's a portrait of a group of teenagers after one of them commits suicide. I was the same age as the characters when I saw the film and I could recognise my own experience of growing up in Paris. It was the first time I realised you could create art by just describing the world you live in. You don't need to escape or invent stories.

'Goodbye First Love' is out now