In July 1979, during the Summer holidays, in a house somewhere in Brittany, a whole family (parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and other relatives) are gathered to celebrate Granny Amandine's ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mamie Amandine
...
Mme Prévost dite Mémé - la mère d'Anna
...
Jean dit Jacquot - le père d'Albertine
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Anna - la mère d'Albertine
...
Tante Linette
...
Tonton Fredo
...
Tante Monique
Candide Sanchez ...
Tonton Gustavo
...
Tonton Roger
Valérie Bonneton ...
Tante Micheline
...
Tonton Hubert
...
Christian
...
Tante Clémentine
Marc Ruchmann ...
Tonton Loulou
Michelle Goddet ...
Tante Suzette (as Michèle Goddet)
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Storyline

In July 1979, during the Summer holidays, in a house somewhere in Brittany, a whole family (parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and other relatives) are gathered to celebrate Granny Amandine's sixty-seventh birthday. Albertine, who was ten years old at the time, vividly recounts this brief but life-changing experience. Written by Guy Bellinger

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Comedy

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Release Date:

5 October 2011 (France)  »

Also Known As:

O Verão do Skylab  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Award: Special Jury Prize at the 2011 San Sebastian. See more »

Goofs

Though set in July 1979, the kids dance to a punk song by the Dead Kennedys which was first released in May, 1981. See more »

Connections

References Alien (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

L'été indien
Written by Ward/Vito Pallavicini (lyrics)/Pasquale Losito (music)/Toto Cutugno (music)
French adaptation by Pierre Delanoë and Claude Lemesle
Arranged by Johnny Arthey
(p) 1975
Published by Sbk Song
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User Reviews

 
Death and the little girl
11 September 2012 | by (Montigny-lès-Metz, France) – See all my reviews

One of Julie Delpy's main qualities as a movie director is her ability not to repeat what she has done before and to move from one genre to another effortlessly. "Le Skylab" has not much to do with "2 Days in Paris", even less so with "La comtesse". In this particular film, she explores two areas, comedy (for the first time since "Looking for Jimmy") and autobiography (for the first time ever).

"Le Skylab" indeed stems from the writer-director-actress's childhood memories, more precisely from a weekend nine-year-old Julie spent at her granny's house in Brittany. The object of the family reunion was to celebrate the said grandmother's 67th birthday but Julie would probably not have made a film of this "event", had it not been marred by a curious and unsettling menace : the supposed fall of the first American space station on Brittany. This impending catastrophe allows Julie Delpy to bring more depth to her story than if she had opted for a mere emotional evocation of her green years. Back in the Summer of 1979, Little Julie (called Albertine in the movie) can thus be seen both playing with cousins like the little girl she is and more adultly wondering about death and physical disappearance.

To explore such a theme (a child considering death for the first time), the director could have chosen a dramatic angle, in Bergman's style ("Fanny and Alexander"), an emotional approach ("Diabolo Menthe) or a horrific tone ("Night of the Hunter"). But Julie Delpy is a too lively a person not to choose comedy. With a touch of tragedy of course, but laughter will dominate.

Good choice, but to tell the truth, "Le Skylab" delivers less than it promises. On the whole, sincere as it is, the film proves uneven. There ARE good points, the least debatable of which being its brilliant cast, starting with Delpy herself, full of beans and tart-tongued as usual, playing Albertine's activist mother. The others are all good, with a special mention to Eric Elmosnino, her leftist but much less radical husband ; Bernadette Lafont, in fine form as acerbic Granny Amandine ; Valérie Bonneton, both funny and moving in the role of Aunt Micheline ; and Albert Delpy (Julie's real-life father) embodying an eccentric uncle. As for Lou Alvarez, the young actress who portrays Julie Delpy as a little girl, she is just perfect: neither too cute nor too ugly, just an ordinary brat.

In addition to this excellent ensemble cast, a few scenes ARE funny, notably the rows between Albertine's parents, with caustic dialogues penned by Delpy herself, and delivered to perfection by Elmosnino and herself.

But, despite its welcome serious side, the plot remains slender. Which would have been of little consequence if the author had been able to captivate or to amuse us throughout. After all, a slice of life can very well do without a strong plot and move or entertain an audience though. But, unfortunately, Delpy's work only intermittently reaches its target, causing us to yawn between two good scenes. One of the reasons is that the pace is too slack. There are also too many group scenes in which everybody speaks at the same time about topics that are uninteresting to us viewers. And if the characters start singing a song, they sing it out until the end. Really, Julie Delpy should be more careful when it comes to editing.

Well, do not skip "Le Skylab" though. As, for all its shortcomings, this coming of age comedy is quite watchable and reasonably entertaining on the whole.


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