A Summer's Tale

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France | 1996 | 114 | Eric Rohmer

August 1 - 6, 2014

A lost classic, this 1996 film from French New Wave master Eric Rohmer, the third in his four seasons cycle, has never before been released in the U.S. Set in a seaside resort, this tale of youthful indiscretion and romance is "a reminder of how moving and funny Rohmer’s comedies of manners could be." (Seattle Times)

Gaspard, a recent university graduate, arrives at the seaside in Bretagne for three weeks' vacation before starting a new job. He's hoping his sort-of girlfriend, the fickle Léna, will join him there; but as the days pass, he welcomes the interest of Margot, a student of ethnology working as a waitress for the summer. Things start to get complicated when the spoken-for Margot encourages Gaspard to have a summer romance with her friend, Solène, and he complies. When Léna turns up, and scheduling complications abound, Gaspard will have to make a choice...

Rohmer’s characteristically light touch allows his characters to discourse on love and friendship, even as their body language complicates and even contradicts their words. Diane Baratier’s cinematography perfectly captures the languor of youth and the feeling of a French beach vacation—the sea, the sunlight and the lovely surroundings convey the openness of a world of possibilities faced by these young people.

"The Rohmer touch consists of nonchalance and effortless sensuality, not just in the people, but also in the landscape, somehow even in the air… A Summer's Tale makes obvious this director's influence on the epic walk-and-talks and romantic inquisitions of latter-day Richard Linklater…It's a merciful vision, and a vacation we all deserve." – Jonathan Kiefer, The Village Voice

"★★★½! Nature is a prominent, resolute character in this film, as it is in many of Rohmer’s works (The Green Ray, Pauline at the Beach). Much less steadfast and predictable, however, are the mercurial young people of A Summer’s Tale, the director’s keenly observed, wonderful 1996 drama-comedy." – Tom Keogh, Seattle Times

"Rohmer's sun-kissed love quadrangle remains as fresh and romantically profound as it was 18 years ago." – Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

"A Summer's Tale has room to focus on Rohmer's brilliance at revealing human nature through articulate, multidimensional characters, perfectly cast, who in some ways seem to exist outside of time." – Stephen Holden, New York Times

  • Director: Eric Rohmer
  • Principal Cast: Melvil Poupaud, Amanda Langlet, Gwenaëlle Simon, Aurélia Nolin
  • Country: France
  • Year: 1996
  • Running Time: 114
  • Language: French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP