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Summer, 1967. La Goulette, the touristic beach of Tunisi, is the site where three nice seventeen-year-old girls live: Gigi, sicilian and catholic; Meriem, Tunisian and Arab; Tina, French and Jewish. They would like to have their first sexual experience during that summer, challenging their families. Their fathers, Youssef, Jojo and Giuseppe, are old friends and their friendship will be in crisis because of the girls, while Hadj, an old rich Arab, would like to marry Meriem. Written by
When we're told at the end that the Arab-Israeli war started a day after the film's last scene, the transience of what we've been watching is underlined
we realize (if we haven't already) that the summer of the title is
a figurative as well as a literal setting. The film is in part a largely timeless evocation of eroticism, incident and youthful entanglements, but with a highly specific undertone of racial bickering - it's a melting pot of religious and ethnic allegiances which seems in danger of blowing (the main confrontations here revolving around sex). As so often, it's mainly the men who perpetrate the worst excesses of tribalism, with the women more conciliatory, more progressive (the film sums up the tensions impinging on the younger women through its discussion, later implemented, of going naked under the veil - adhering to tradition while eroticizing, indeed scandalizing it). Despite these challenging elements, it's an episodic, easygoing film, with a languid, glistening sexiness that sometimes has a distinctly dangerous charge; in the end though it fades away rather, despite the political underlining of the closing caption.
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