For Reel

Summer (1986)
July 12, 2012, 12:02 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Eric Rohmer

Eric Rohmer’s Summer is surely one of the best movies ever made about loneliness. Titled The Green Ray (after Jules Verne’s novel) outside of North America, the picture follows a Parisian secretary who has just gotten out of a relationship and struggles to find someone to spend time with during her vacation month of August. There is not much more to the plot than that – it is a picture of quiet observations and invigorating non-sequiturs, creating a rich portrait of a woman whose isolation is self-inflicted due to her particularity about whom it is that she spends her time with. Early on, she must explain to her well-meaning hosts that she will not eat any meat products, only before declining to accompany them on their boat due to her penchant for seasickness. It is a moment that is both character-building and surprisingly devastating, suggesting what is likely her pattern of being wrongfully interpreted as stand-offish and unpleasant. As much as Rohmer mourns her loneliness, however, he champions her independence – the mysticism associated with Vernes’ titular phenomenon attributes a hopeful note to the otherwise melancholic progression, suggesting that she has not completely resigned herself to her fate. Particular though she may be, she will never grow despondent.

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