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SUMMER'S TALE, A

The French summer vacation finds Gaspard in the northern seaside resort of Dinard; he is waiting for Lena, with whom he thinks he is in love. Eating alone, he attracts the attention of the waitress, Margot, who has her own distant affair to talk about. Gaspard, a guitarist and song writer, is drawn to Margot’s warmth, freely discussing his complicated feelings for Lena with her. At a disco one night, he meets Solène, and gets himself into a tricky sitauation with promises to spend some days at another holiday spot with each of the three girls - with the best of intentions but the worst of timing. Things get totally chaotic when Lena finally arrives. Who will Gaspard choose to spend the rest of his holiday on the island of Ouessant? And how?

Review by Louise Keller:
A Summer’s Tale is a story of the heart. It concentrates on the internal plots rather than action, and does so in a gentle, sensitive way. And of course it is HOW Eric Rohmer achieves this that is interesting. Rohmer’s capacity for observation, capturing it and placing it on the screen is an artform. There is a particular simplicity in his style. For the first ten minutes of the film, images set the scene, without a single word of dialogue. Yet, the scene is clearly set. We get the feel for the small French seaside resort, and we observe Gaspard as a mooching, lanky young man with a shock of black curly hair and a sensitive introverted manner, as he wanders, eats alone and waits. Rohmer elicits a complex and subtle performance from Melvil Poupard, in portraying this young man searching for his emotional identity. The rest of the young cast is most appealing and each gives delightfully natural performances. Rohmer clearly observes some interesting differences between the sexes: Gaspard is self-conscious, naïve, and a little devious, but cannot deal with his emotional dilemma . The three girls offer different things. Margot offers understanding and friendship, allowing Gaspard to be himself; Solene teases with allure and titillation, making Gaspard behave in a particular way; Lena is manipulative and so self-centred, all she can offer is a shell which Gaspard tries to convince himself he desires. The skill with which Rohmer deals with the emotional dilemma, brings a fluidity and simplicity that lingers. The inevitable conclusion is wonderfully apt and leaves us with a bitter-sweet memory of an emotional state, allowing memories and observations of a similar age to seep into the subconscious.

Review by Andrew L. Urban
Curiously haunting, this film, yet it defies easy labels. It is perhaps the study of the minutiae - without the impatience that drives many contemporary filmmakers - that builds up such a complex and completely satisfying emotional jigsaw for the audience. And makes for considerable suspense. I found Amanda Langlet’s Margot not only the most likeable of the characters, but also the most mystifying and intriguing. Gaspard is a study in immature immobility of the senses, his hormones and his heroines pulling him in different directions at once. As Geoff Brown of London’s The Times points out, the greatest pleasure is perhaps the film’s simplicity - in high contrast to the complexities of its subject, the human heart.



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Gaspard & Margot on the beach at Dinard

Gaspard & Solene sing his original song with the accordionist

TRAILER

 

A SUMMER’S TALE (G)
(France)

CAST: Melvil Poupaud, Amanda Langlet, Aurélia Nolin, Gwenaëlle Simon

DIRECTOR: Eric Rohmer

PRODUCER: Françoise Etchegaray

SCRIPT: Eric Rohmer

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Diane Baratier

EDITOR: Mary Stephen

MUSIC: Philippe Eidel, Sébastien Emrs

RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sharmill Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 17, 1997

 

Solene & Gaspard

Gaspard can be himself with Margot







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