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A Summer's Tale (1996)
"Conte d'été" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  5 June 1996 (France)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,914 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 35 critic

In the centre of part 3 of Rohmer's "4 Seasons-Cycle" stands a young man, Gaspard, who went to Dinard (a town by the sea in the Bretagne) because he hopes to meet the girl he thinks he is ... See full summary »

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Title: A Summer's Tale (1996)

A Summer's Tale (1996) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Gaspard
Amanda Langlet ...
Margot
Gwenaëlle Simon ...
Solene
...
Lena
Aimé Lefèvre ...
The Newfoundlander
Alain Guellaff ...
Uncle Alain
Evelyne Lahana ...
Aunt Maiwen
Yves Guérin ...
Accordionist
Franck Cabot ...
Cousin
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Storyline

In the centre of part 3 of Rohmer's "4 Seasons-Cycle" stands a young man, Gaspard, who went to Dinard (a town by the sea in the Bretagne) because he hopes to meet the girl he thinks he is in love with - Lena. Shortly after his arrival he comes into contact with Margot who works as a servant at her aunt's creperie. He spends a long time with her, and discusses the way he feels about Lena but he hesitates to tell the truth about his relationship. The reason is that he isn't quite sure himself. Although he insists he loves Lena, doubts arise... Written by WM

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

5 June 1996 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Summer's Tale  »

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Featured in A Fine Day (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Fille de corsaire
Performed by Sebastien Erms
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User Reviews

 
Evocative exercise in applied psychology - highly recommended
19 January 2001 | by (San Diego) – See all my reviews

Usually this movie is categorized as either a love story, comedy or drama. IMO it is all and none of these- for the simple reason that the plot does not really matter. What has impressed me about this movie is the realistic way the characters are portrayed. If in a Hollywood movie a character has merely two motivations acting on him this is already interpreted as a "highly complex personality". So the common movie shows characters with a 1D psyche which contradicts the many facets of Self and the elusive, fuzzy nature of personality that one usually has or experiences. On the other hand there are movies which emphasize the highly artistic side by stuffing in all kinds of metaphors, analogies, images, etc. While this might make for an interesting intellectual puzzle- to me itïs just dull because this avoids the medium's strength of portraying intense situations. Just like a book written in Latin: it can be fun deciphering it- but it certainly does not make a good read. With these extremes out of the way- back to _Conte d'ete_. It's presented in a diary-like way with the protagonist either on his own or in company of one of the girls he is in love with. There are a few group scenes but thankfully they are rare and the main focus is on dialogues between the different personalities. All of the characters appear convinced of having a static self at the time of speaking. Yet throughout the movie one can see quite rapid changes going on which, just as in real life are not completely directed at a specific goal (IMO linear character development only takes place in bad short stories). So while each character remains mostly unaware about his/her individual changes they are made obvious by the characters describing each other. The dialogues are extremely lifelike- with all the mechanisms of exaggerating, rationalizing, white lies, etc.

What makes this movie a piece of art instead of just a diary film adaption is the timelessness with which it is presented. The images and characters are somewhat blurred or softened (_not_ in a visual sense!) as a fading memory might be. There are dates inserted every few minutes giving the plot a duration of about two weeks. Had this not been done it would be hard to tell whether the time span covered is 3 days or 3 years. Despite having an elaborate personality the characters at the same time remain general (archetypical, if you will) and personally I find it very easy to identify friends with these characters- which IMO is intended.

To sum it up, I see this movie as an evocative exercise in applied psychology reflecting or focusing life towards the audience. While there are some recurring commentaries the film is for the most part free of moral judgement.

There are two points of negative critic:

  • the otherwise excellent acting (which does not look like acting)
is limited by the somewhat uninspired gestures of the main actor (Melvil Poupaud).
  • the Deus Ex Machina ending which is used to finish an otherwise endless
story


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