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Le bel été 1914 (1996)

A couple take their son for the holidays to an uncle, so short of money that he rents part of his big isolated house to a businessman whose wife and daughters are there on holiday too. An ... See full summary »

Writers:

(novel), (dialogue) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Comte de Sainteville
...
Maria
...
Pierre Mercadier
Judith Henry ...
Paulette Mercadier
...
Blanche Pailleron
...
Ernest Pailleron
Emmanuel Salinger ...
Le docteur Moreau
Julia Maraval ...
Suzanne
Robinson Stévenin ...
Gabriel
Pauline De Boever ...
Yvonne
Marie-Joséphine Crenn ...
Jeanne
Maria Lhande ...
Marthe
Cécile Caillaud ...
Rosine
Carole Richert ...
Denise
Stéphanie Petiot ...
Une tuberculeuse
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Storyline

A couple take their son for the holidays to an uncle, so short of money that he rents part of his big isolated house to a businessman whose wife and daughters are there on holiday too. An affair develops among the adults, while the children start their own explorations. Deaths, disappearances and financial ruin follow as the world drifts into war.

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

21 August 1996 (France)  »

Also Known As:

1914 the Glorious Summer  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
dancing on a volcano.
23 October 2003 | by See all my reviews

"LE BEL ETE 14":what an oxymoron! That summer was anything but beautiful,and the characters of the movie do not know that all their hopes and plans will sink like Titanic -the picture of the ship comes back several times-.Claude Rich's last line is scary :"I hope they 'll have the war!"

His world had already gone :an old aristocrat,short of the readies,who does not accept the new world ruled by the bourgeois class ,epitomized by the industrialist played by Philippe Torreton,de la comédie française,and by the doctor who finally grabs the castle which will be turned into a hospital.When the movie begins,it's already the end of the line for the old squire:he's forced to rent out a part of his desirable mansion to the industrialist's family.

But even the "new " world is also collapsing:in the heart of the country,the news is leaking out:Sarajevo,Pointcarré and Jaurès are quoted in the dialogue,but all that seems very far away for these people ,as if it came from another world.

This small microcosm keeps on living in a splendid landscape;love affairs appear and disappear .The last picture,where all the characters except for the doctor -apparently the winner who takes it all,only the audience knows it's just an illusion-,are dressed in black,because of the noble's sister's death,is an omen:this world is about to fall,and red and black will replace the green green grass of home.

Christian de Challonges made very few movies ;the most famous is "malevil"(1981) a rather clumsy sci-fi effort.But his best work remains "l'alliance"(1970) in which animals seemed to sense dangers which elude man;the pictures of the bees,in "le bel été 14" might be a nod to "l'alliance" .The children burying the birds after a funeral is probably a nod to René Clément's celebrated "jeux interdits" (1947)

"Le bel été 14" manages to generate some kind of nostalgia that lingers after the viewing,which is quite a feat ,considering the immediate future of its characters.In spite of banal love affairs -the worst being the one which concerns the children- this is definitely a movie worth watching.Excellent performances by the whole cast.


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