This week, Film Comment is reporting from Berlin, where the 2024 Berlinale kicked off on February 15. Throughout the festival, we’ll be sharing daily podcasts, dispatches, and interviews covering all the highlights of this year’s selection, including new films by Mati Diop, Bruno Dumont, Hong Sangsoo, and many more. Subscribe to the Film Comment Letter here to stay up-to-date.

One of the early and most anticipated premieres of this year’s festival was Olivier Assayas’s new film Suspended Time. It’s a kind of companion piece to his 2008 movie Summer Hours, not to mention his recent TV series Irma Vep, although Suspended Time is the filmmaker’s most direct foray yet into autofiction. The film is based on the time that Assayas spent during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 confining with his brother Etienne—and their two partners—in their childhood home in the French countryside. The film stars Vincent Macaigne as a thinly veiled onscreen surrogate for Assayas (as in Irma Vep) and features dramatized scenes of the two brothers bonding, clashing, and reminiscing on the ways in which this house and home shaped them as artists and as men. Assayas also weaves interludes throughout the film, narrated by the director himself, in which he reflects on the objects and the landscapes of his youth, and how they’ve influenced his cinema.

On today’s Podcast, FC Co-Editor Devika Girish interviews Assayas about the making of the film, his thoughts on the genre of autofiction, and his relationship with his leading man, Vincent Macaigne, who he describes as an “agent of chaos.”