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L'été meurtrier
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Reviews & Ratings for
One Deadly Summer More at IMDbPro »L'été meurtrier (original title)

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34 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Aussi sur que je suis vivante, je riverai son ame

Author: Michael Coy ( from London, England
12 January 1999

It is high summer in the south of France. and one family's peace is about to be disturbed by Eliane, a young woman with revenge on her mind.

Isabelle Adjani was 28 and already a star when she played Eliane, the scheming minx who dominates the film. Eliane is a wild child, disturbed, bitchy and alluring by turns. She has in mind a grand plan of revenge against the people whom she holds responsible for the rape of her mother. However, events take an unexpected turn ...

This is a story saturated in, and powered by, sex. Eliane is obsessed by the violent rape of her mother back in 1955, the very incident which spawned her. In a real sense, her whole existence is given meaning by the rape. She is an extremely attractive girl, and she uses sex to get what she wants, and particularly to advance her designs of vengeance.

Pin Pon (Alain Souchon) is a decent, simple man. His family, the Montecciari, are proud of their Italian descent. In their barn stands the barrel organ which played "Roses of Picardy" during the rape, and this Italian organ-grinder's instrument becomes for Eliane the symbol of her sense of injustice. She schemes to entrap Pin Pon into marrying her, in order to get close to the family's bosom.

From the early scene in which Pin Pon emerges from under a car on a mechanic's trolley to find himself looking up Eliane's tiny diaphanous skirt, we know that he is an innocent dupe and that she is a pouting, dangerous little madam. It quickly becomes obvious that she is also unstable. Her behaviour in the restaurant embarrasses Pin Pon and her relationship with her mother is difficult and quasi-sexual. At times she regresses into a child-like vulnerability, and at others she is wantonly malicious and unruly.

The narration of the story switches between the characters in a natural and convincing way. Eliane's relationship with the deaf Costagna (Suzanne Flon) is sensitively portrayed. Eliane is the only one whom the deaf woman can understand, because she whispers. The deaf old fool sees more clearly than the others what Eliane is about.

To manipulate Pin Pon into marriage, Eliane pretends to be 'expecting'. Once again, sex is being used to avenge sex, the product of the unlooked-for pregnancy is exploiting her own imaginary pregnancy to settle the score. She takes particular delight in antagonising Pin Pon's stiff, correct mother (Jenny Cleve). The wedding is marred when Eliane unaccountably vanishes - another slight inflicted on the Montecciari, and a mirroring of the baby's 'disappearance'.

The key to the complex plot is Eliane's traumatic relationship with her father, played by Michel Galabru. Just as Eliane is not really an expectant mother, so M. Devigne is not really a father. There is a sexual element in the bond of affection, at least in Eliane's unbalanced mind, and a colossal burden of guilt.

If the men in the truck hadn't taken a wrong turning on that November night in 1955, or if the German girl hadn't been displaced by the war, or the Italians hadn't chosen to settle in the Vaucluse ... There is a sense in which the accidental intermingling of nationalities has caused this disruption in the life of the sleepy provencal village. And now, twenty years on, the potent mixture is reaching critical mass.

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32 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Shatteringly powerful drama with an incredible Adjani performance

Author: DrLenera
9 July 2004

One Deadly Summer is an astonishing French drama whose best quality is quite simple- you don't know what will happen next. As soon as the plot appears to be sorting itself out, something else happens which changes what we are expecting .Also, the film itself changes several times.Initially it seems to be a love story with some strange elements.Then the film appears to be becoming one of those rape/revenge thrillers, such as Angel Of Vengeance, I Spit On Your Grave, than suddenly things change and it becomes more of a very dark family drama, culminating in an emotionally exhausting dialogue scene between the female protagonist and her father. Despite all this the film does not seem disjointed or muddled.

At the film's core is an amazing performance by the brilliant Isabel Adjani, who like Monica Belucci manages something beyond the grasp of most American actresses, that of being incredibly sexy and being a superb actress. Her performance is truly heartfelt, sometimes extremely subtle, and sometimes truly barnstorming, but appropriately so. Director Jean Becker is not afraid to be innovative ,such as having different characters narrate bits of the film, and does a superb job of sequences like a flashback rape scene, which leaves the majority of that happens to the imagination yet still somehow gives some idea of the horror.

There is the odd unexplained aspect ,and the film does seem to be building to action which does not really occur, although the cynical, downbeat ending is really entirely appropriate. Despite all this, there is quite a bit of humour in the film which does not detract at all from it's power. A Hollywood remake would cut out most of the first hour- yes, the pace is slow but the gradual building of tension and detail is nothing short of masterful- and add a happier or at least more 'resolved' ending.In that case,maybe it's a good thing this shattering film is not better known.

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

This is about Isabelle Adjani and Luis Bunuel connection.

Author: FilmCriticLalitRao from Paris, France
7 August 2007

L'Ete Meurtrier is a compelling tale of vengeance which will surely appeal to all aficionados of thriller genre.Jean Becker embarked on a cinematic path wholly different in content as well as structure from the one taken by his legendary father Jacques Becker.There is a prevalent aspect of revenge running throughout all his films.L'Ete Meurtrier varies its tone and narrative style at regular intervals.It starts as an erotic drama and transforms itself into an agreeable account of retribution.Eliane takes cruel revenge when she learns that her birth was the fruit of her mother's brutal rape.Isabelle Adjani regretted having refused to do certain nude scenes in Luis Bunuel's renowned "Cet obscur objet du desir".This film gave her a chance to display all her erotic charms.She strips over and over again which boosted the film's Box Office success.L'Ete Meurtrier which won 4 Cesars in 1983 was fully dominated by Isabelle Adjani whose presence eclipsed all expectations.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Intelligent tale of revenge

Author: runamokprods from US
27 December 2011

More an Intelligent drama, with some violent overtones more than the "thriller" it's packaged as. This has more in common with "Rashomon" than with the latest slick action movie out of Hollywood.

Isabelle Adjani plays a young woman unhinged by the knowledge of her mother's brutal rape by 3 men years earlier, and she has built her life around seeking revenge. The film's most striking aspect is the use of multiple switching narrators, so we see the tale unfold from several points of view.

Adjani, as always, has a tremendous emotional rawness, but for me the performance (and the writing) wears its heart a little too much on it's sleeve. I wish she wasn't so clearly crazy much of the time. Or that more people seemed to notice just how blatantly manipulative her behavior is.

The pace is very slow, which worked a lot of the time, but I did find myself frustrated at moments.

But all that said, this is an interesting experiment in telling a complex story, with strong performances all around. And if it occasionally falls into melodrama, it also is full of moments that are disturbing, moving and shocking.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Complex thriller is worth seeing .

Author: gridoon
11 September 2002

Isabelle Adjani gives a brilliant, instinctive performance (and she also has several showstopping nude scenes, I might add) as an animalistic, untamed young sexpot who seeks vengeance on the three men that raped her mother 20 years ago. In the first few minutes, the film seems a bit confusing and pointless, but gradually reveals itself to be a multi-layered story with quite a few twists along the way. "One Deadly Summer" deserves more attention (but is difficult to find). (***)

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Modern French Classic

Author: texaustin from United Kingdom
14 February 2006

L'Ete Meurtrier is a very complex, cleverly constructed film, well acted, written and directed. For me, one of the cleverest features is the fact that a number of characters take their turn at narration.

Although Adjani puts in a very good performance, in my opinion the best performance is by Suzanne Flon, who plays the pivotal role of Cognata.

The flashback scenes are not wholly convincing for me - they do not even begin to suggest that the action is taking place twenty years previously.

Perhaps my favourite scene, is the one where Eliane sits outside her father's locked door and cries "tu est mon pere!" - this scene is well acted by Adjani - the viewer can almost feel her anguish.

Overall, an excellent film which can be watched over and over again. In fact, one needs to watch it a few times to appreciate all the twists and turns in the plot.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

all bright, golden and light, at first

Author: christopher-underwood from United Kingdom
30 January 2013

I don't know how I've managed to not see this film till now, except I guess, for some reason it was only available for a short time. But it is a stunner, all bright, golden and light, at first, but rapidly the evidence of some dark undertow becomes evident. Alain Souchon seems a barely adequate pairing for Isabelle Adjani but it all gradually comes together. Adjani is skimpily dressed, partly undressed or completely nude for the entire picture and so hypnotises that we are distracted and unable to foresee what will be the doom laden, final denouement. I cannot think of another film where the leading lady looks so sensational from every angle and throughout an entire movie as Adjani does in this. Never a dull moment, as they say, and more than that, little is what it seems at first and those we think have a handle on things maybe don't. There is an intimate moment between Adjani's character and her mother that astonished and baffled me that does resonate as the film builds to its explosive ending.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A warm mysterious summer!

Author: Ankur Mukherjee from India
2 January 2012

French cinema yet once again proved its brilliance through this tiny masterpiece. The film was to be described in one word, it would be 'Unpredictable', you never know what will be the next thing or what will be the next intention of a character will be. 'One deadly summer' is a film about characters you may or may not be familiar with in real life but you certainly will believe them. Isabelle Adjani is very precise and shines with excellence in her role, she gives one of her very best performances here. Alain Sounchon delivers a remarkable performance, and the chemistry between these two are beyond words. The film oozes with mystery every moment, though having situations very believable and genuine and the characters development is so strong, so deep, that you will be forced to see every situation from their individual perspectives. A film to look out for. Simply one of those few fine European films you cannot afford to avoid, undoubtedly a 9.8 out of 10!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"Unsettling and diversely romantic mystery..."

Author: Sindre Kaspersen from Norway
2 February 2012

French actor, screenwriter and director Jean Becker's fifth feature film is an adaptation of a novel from 1977 by French director, screenwriter and author Sébastien Raprisot (1931-2003) who wrote the screenplay for the film. It premiered In competition at the 36th Cannes International Film Festival in 1983, was shot on various locations in France and is a French production which was produced by producer Christine Beytout. It tells the story about a flirtatious and ambiguous nineteen-year-old woman named Eliane Wieck who one hot summer returns to her hometown in provincial France with her German mother and handicapped father. Eliane's provocative behaviour makes everyone in town notice her and causes suspiciousness amongst the inhabitants, but one day she is approached by a nice local car mechanic named Fiorimonti who immediately falls in love with her, and a relationship begins to evolve.

Finely and engagingly directed by French filmmaker Jean Becker, this finely tuned fictional tale which is narrated by Alain Souchon and mostly from his and the female protagonist's viewpoints, draws an intriguing and multifaceted portrayal of a traumatized and truth-seeking young woman who puts on a facade, acting like a poorly raised child, in order to find the truth about her past. While notable for it's warm and bright countryside milieu depictions, sterling cinematography by cinematographer Etienne Becker, production design by production designer Jean-Claude Gallouin and costume design by costume designer Therese Ripaud, this character-driven story about family relations, vengeance and love, depicts a dark study of character and contains a cryptic and efficient score by French composer Georges Delerue.

This thoroughly written thriller and plot-twisting psychological drama from the early 1980s where a French stranger makes her presence known, is impelled and reinforced by it's engaging literary narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, strong contrasts, impending atmosphere, French actress Isabelle Adjani's prominent acting performance as a bewitching femme fatale in a very complicated role and the fine acting performances by French actor Alain Souchon and French actress Suzanne Flon (1918-2005). An unsettling and diversely romantic mystery which gained the award for Best Actress Isabelle Adjani, Best Supporting actress Suzanne Flon, Best Editing and Best Writing - Adaptation at the 9th César Awards in 1984 and was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 36th Cannes Film Festival in 1983.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Loved it

Author: ntsci from canada
17 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the most riveting films I've seen in a long time. Isabelle is captivating, flirtatious, beautiful, and the girlfriend from hell. I loved the dinner date. What an amazing scene. Isabelle is entirely convincing in all her moods from sexually flirtatious to depressed to passionate rage. This film is a virtuoso performance showcasing a great actress. In addition to great acting, she is simply gorgeous leaving you wanting to see more of her and this being a French film, one is not disappointed in that respect. The way the story unfolds forces one to pay attention to every little nuance. Sometimes its a bit corny like when they zoom in on her when she first asks about the organ in the barn, but overall the directing, acting, and cinematography are fabulous. I highly recommend this. To me the mark of a really good film is wanting to watch it again and getting a different understanding of scene each time you watch it. In part this is to get the point of the story. There are scenes that seem to be out of place like the scene in the forest, but everything fits together in the end. The first time I watched it I couldn't quite understand why she was so depressed when she found out that the revenge had already been done, but when I watched it again, it all made sense -- to find out that knowing that it was all done did not make her feel better; revenge does not solve ones problems. But it is too late, she has already set things in motion that make the ending ironic and tragic.

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