French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve’s movies have a fluidity and a meandering momentum that’s inspired by life, not by other movies. That’s unusual, since most directors in their 30s grew up with a remote in each hand. In fact, it wasn’t until writer–director Olivier Assayas cast the teenage Hansen-Løve in a couple of his movies that she got turned on to cinema.
They eventually became a couple, if you must know, and had a child together. Equally important, Hansen-Løve enrolled in (and dropped out of) drama school, then became a film critic before making her first short film in 2004. She’s gone on to direct eight features; the latest, Maya, will reach the Bay Area in the coming months while Bergman Island, starring Mia Wasikowska, is tipped to premiere at Cannes.
Hansen-Løve is one of those self-effacing filmmakers who readily touts her influences, notably her French ancestors Jean Renoir and Éric Rohmer. Among the packed-house highlights of her visit to the Bay Area this week and next for the BAMPFA retrospective “Life Goes On: The Films of Mia Hansen-Løve,” she’ll introduce Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Café Lumiere (Jan. 26) and Gérard Blain’s 1974 rarity The Pelican (Feb. 1).
Of course, Hansen-Løve will also be on hand to present her own work: Things to Come (Jan. 26) starring the incomparable Isabel Huppert, the semiautobiographical Goodbye First Love (Jan. 27), the quietly unsettling film-world drama Father of My Children (Jan. 31) and her breakthrough debut All is Forgiven (Feb. 2). “Life Goes On” goes on after Hansen-Løve’s departure, which is exactly how it should be. Call it meandering momentum.