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Summer of '04 (2006)

Sommer '04 (original title)
At 40, Miriam radiates serene beauty and tranquility, a confidence and self-assurance as vast as the sea close to her summer home. There are no taboos in the polished, urbane life she ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Miriam Franz
...
Svea Lohde ...
Peter Davor ...
André
Lucas Kotaranin ...
Nils
...
Grietje (as Nicole Mrischka)
Gábor Altorjay ...
Daniel (as Gábor Altorgay)
Michael Benthin ...
Arzt
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Storyline

At 40, Miriam radiates serene beauty and tranquility, a confidence and self-assurance as vast as the sea close to her summer home. There are no taboos in the polished, urbane life she shares with her partner André and their 15-year-old son Nils; there is understanding and tolerance. If Nils invites his 12-year-old girlfriend Livia to spend the holidays with them, fine. But when the brazenly sensual Livia begins flirting with an older man, Bill, Miriam feels it is her responsibility to stop the questionable relationship. But as she does so, it is she herself who falls for the shy and charmingly insecure Bill. Miriam forges ahead, seducing him, seeing him secretly. But it is Livia that Bill loves, not Miriam. And suddenly the vast horizons of her life vanish in a fog of jealousy and rejection - emotions that prove to be far less controllable than she thought... Written by Bavaria Film International

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19 October 2006 (Germany)  »

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Summer of '04  »

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Sailing into deep blue water
2 August 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The time of adolescence is always a troubling one for parents, and the worry may be just as great for those in loco parentis and dealing with exceptionally intelligent but precocious young teenagers.

Miriam and Andre are a well-educated middle class family on holiday at the Baltic coast with their 15 year old son, Niels, and his 12 year old girlfriend, Livia. All four of them are good at handling boats, which plays a big part in the story. Although both children are coping with their hormones and attitudes towards sex to varying degrees, Miriam feels especially protective towards Livia, whose openness can easily be mistaken for flirtatiousness. Livia strikes up a friendship with an older man, Bill, after going sailing with him. He seems responsible and respectable, but Miriam is concerned when Livia announces she is staying over at his house. Her initial doubts seem unfounded, but then she finds herself in an unexpected triangle, competing with the young girl for Bill's affections.

From gentle, idyllic beginnings, Summer '04 builds into edge-of-the-seat tension as we are concerned first for Livia, then watching in fascination as Miriam is drawn into an impossible scenario. Bill's attempts to maintain his distance are balanced like a knife edge, and a seemingly minor accident at sea throws everything into confusion. To top it off, a surprisingly beautiful and very touching ending humbles us with the unexpected depth of insight of one of the characters.

Summer '04 hits the mark with actors that perform as if there is no camera there, lush countryside that makes you want to put your feet up, gripping action as the two women struggle to handle the boat, and a refreshing absence of background music. Simmering sexual tensions rounded off with heartbreaking tenderness make it a tour de force for all lovers of European cinema.

The sudden switches between breakneck action and slow, languorous camera-work could be off-putting to mainstream audiences, but there is plenty of thought provoking stuff in Summer '04 for those who can be bothered.


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