I'm hoping in my heart of hearts that the cinema world has got Arnaud Desplechin fever. That the retrospective of his work (currently playing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and surely unmissable) has captured the attention of everyone who isn't already desperately excited for his latest work, the truly lovely "My Golden Days." I hope this because if anyone gives me hope for the curated future of cinephilia, of young people falling hopelessly in love with cinema, it's the work of this gifted French maverick. His retrospective ought to catch anyone up on what is among the five most vital voices in French cinema. Desplechin creates a sort of cocoon of cinematic history to wrap up his viewers, comforting them with old fashioned, in-camera editing tricks, then bombarding them with oblique, thorny writing and painfully honest displays of humanity. When you emerge at the end of each of his films, you feel like a butterfly with broken wings, someone who has seen the best of humanity as rendered in our artistic tradition and the worst in our anti-social behavior and all-too-understandable mistakes.
I spoke with Arnaud Desplechin about returning to the character Paul Dedalus, the star of his first major work "My Sex Life ... or How I Got Into An Argument," and his feelings about the future and his own legacy. He's a man bursting with the kind of anxious love for possibility that is all too rare in the art world. He isn't out to make points, he only wants to make sense of a difficult place and time through his films. Speaking personally he's been helping me understand my own life for almost a decade. "My Golden Days" is just the latest in a long line of splendid works from one of our finest directors.