Monday, September 22, 2008

L’Heure d’Été (Summer Hours)

This Olivier Assayas film is a compelling and interesting study of human behavior to family past, present and future, and those decisions triggered by death of elder relatives that decided to dedicate themselves to preserve traditions, family past and cherish objects as souvenirs of a glorious past. All is challenged when newer generations have new desires to pursue their lives thinking more about the present and the future.

What truly makes it compelling is that is presented as normal and natural as possible when you’re overcoming the death of your mother. There is no melodrama, no dramatics, no outbursts; all feelings are shown in the most natural and credible way in a family where love and caring for each other seems more important than anything else.

I was really touched by the story and the realistic way to present it, but definitively performances are excellent with Juliette Binoche having a small but compelling role and Charles Berling absolutely stealing the movie as the elder sibling.

Tells the story of three brothers Adrienne (Binoche), Frédéric (Berling) and Jérémie (Jérémie Renier) and their own families that witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish the family belongings to ensure their deceased mother’s succession. Please do not think that the film or the story is sad as is not, is so realistic that becomes very objective and somehow a little bitter and a little sweet.

This is the second movie produced by Musee d”Orsay after Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge and we get to see the really beautiful museum with takes from rooms open to the public and some that are not. I’m really looking forward to see the following movies the museum has, is and will be producing.

The film has great cinematography but camera is concentrated in allowing viewers to see the mostly silent actors expressions that tell all about their natural life decisions. The movie is being screened at the prestigious New York Film Festival.

This Assayas’ film is really a breath of fresh air that slowly will take you into thinking what’s the real meaning of heritage. But I know that is not for all audiences you have to enjoy great French Cinema that tells a contemporary story told in the most Chinese way according to Assaya words as he says was inspired by the works of Hou Hsiao Hsien, Wong Kar-Wai and Tsai Ming-liang that we know most of their stories deal with the modernization of very traditional societies.


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