Following a long tradition, all members of a family convene in the same old house to spend their summer holidays. For 15-years old Jacques, this should again be the time to play with the children of relatives, or to stroll in the surroundings dotted with Roman ruins - were it not for his incipient love towards his cousin Juliette. The world of Jacques is further disrupted by the arrival of Aunt Odette, a dashing young divorcée, who quickly enthralls his father. And then there is Mr. Gabard, the agent sent by a property developer to investigate the possible acquisition of the vast estate whose maintenance is straining the means of the family... Written by
Eduardo Casais <email@example.com>
There are places I remember in my life... (John Lennon)
"Dernières vacances" ,although it retains a certain charm and it did introduce highly talented Odile Versois (they were four sisters ,all of Russian extraction;for the record the three others were/are Marina Vlady (the most popular),Olga Poliakoff and Hélène Vallier),has not worn that well.It depicts a very bourgeois milieu (with the eventual exception of Juliette's father),very educated (they talk about Latin when they are having lunch) .The love "affairs" (Juliette and an "old" real estate agent;Juliette and Jacques who wants to prove he is a man;and even Jacques and his auntie) are conventional and rather bland. What can still move today's audience is these people's love (even if they want to sell it) for their old mansion which contains their dear past (parents and old aunt) ,the places where they play hide and seek (the young children) or where they learn to grow up (the teenagers).
The film is actually a flashback :Jacques is in the classroom but he does not pay attention ;in his dreams he is far away,away in this house which means so many things to him.I'm not sure ,however,that the last sentence is that true:"there are things you have got to learn on your own" ,yes,but provided you have a good family to comfort you when blue turns to gray...
The movie was certainly influential as far as the French cinema is concerned:
-These "safe" romances would become the bulk of Eric Rohmer's "oeuvres" ,where all young people have got to do is contemplate their navel.
-More interesting ,the auntie predates the free woman,a character present in Bertrand Tavernier's "Un Dimanche A la Campagne" (Sabine Azema's role)
-In 1971,Jean -Claude Brialy's first effort as a director, "Eglantine" ,had a screenplay which was quite similar to that of "Dernières Vacances".
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