Catherine Corsini's newest film is up there with her best, which would include for my taste The New Eve (1999), La répétition (2001), Leaving (2009) and Three Worlds (2012). In fact, I think SUMMERTIME (La belle saison) is her best yet. It takes us back to a period that the older of us will remember well (even if we weren't in France at the time, what occurred there was simultaneously going on throughout much of the western world), and Ms Corsini captures both events and characters with a hand as deft as it is subtle & cinematic.
Emmanuelle Béart made a fine impression in La Repetition, and more than any other of Karin Viard's films, The New Eve helped place this supporting actress on the map to stardom. Kristin Scott Thomas is always fine, but Leaving gave her one of her strongest roles, while Three Worlds offered Clotilde Hesme and Raphaël Personnaz characters that brought out new richness and depth in both performers.
Corsini tends to tackle themes involving both class issues and "the other," with the latter sometimes hinging on one's sexual orientation. So it is again with Summertime, in which a beautiful young farm girl, Delphine (a glowing performance from Izïa Higelin, below), after enduring her parents' constant pushing her into marriage with some local boy and when a secret lesbian affair goes south, takes off for the big city in an attempt to discover another life. Which she manages -- in spades.
Cécile De France, shown below), and a relationship blooms.
Benjamin Bellecour) whom she must give up for Delphine. The same feeling and caring is provided the young man in Delphine's farm community who has been in love with her since childhood (a wonderful, heartbreaking performance from Kévin Azaïs. below, right).
Noémie Lvovsky, below, who brings enormous strength and anger to her role of Delphine's mother, who cannot begin to accept anything but the standard straight-and-narrow sexual relationship for her daughter. Ms Lvovsky has one of the film's strongest and most difficult scenes, and she wipes the floor with it.
Strand Releasing (this independent/foreign film distributor is on one hell of a roll lately!) and running 105 minutes -- opens this Friday, July 22, in New York City (at the IFC Center and Film Society of Lincoln Center) amd in Los Angeles (at Laemmle's Royal, Playhouse 7 and Claremont 5), and then in another half dozen or more cities in the weeks to come. Click here, then click on Screenings on the tool bar halfway down the screen to see all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters.