In the Summer of 1993, Frida, a six-year-old little girl, leaves Barcelona and her grandparents for the countryside. After her father, her mother has just died of a mysterious illness. Taken in by her uncle Esteve and aunt Marga, Frida discovers her new environment, an old stone farmhouse in a mountainous area close to a dense forest. Her new "parents" prove friendly. Another good point is that they have a three-year old daughter named Anna who can become a playmate. For another child less disturbed than miserable uprooted Frida, this would be the most idyllic of stays, in other words a permanent vacation. But Frida IS disturbed and if there are undeniably good times at her new "home", there is also the unexpressed pain which makes her both feel sad and behave badly. Will Frida overcome her troubles ? Only the end of Summer will tell.Written by
How a young girl copes with her mom's death will break your heart
Summer 1993" (2017 release from Catalonia; 97 min.) brings the story of Frida, a 6 or 7 yr. old girl. As the movie opens, we see Frida's stuff being boxed up, and Frida along with a couple driving out of the city. The couple discuss the situation in hushed terms but we pick up quickly that Frida's mom just passed away (we're not quite sure of what), and that Frida is now taken care of by her mom's brother Esteve and his wife Marga. The couple have a daughter of their own, 3 or 4 yr. old Anna. How will Frida adopt to her new environment? more importantly, how will the little girl process the death of her mom? At this point we're 10 min. into the mvie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is written and directed by Carla Simon, based on her memoirs and with Frida standing in for Carla. Set in rural Catalonia, we observe how Frida tries to settle into this new family, while at the same time dealing with her overwhelming sense of loss and sadness. Not surprisingly, Frida is at times scared, confused, angry, or withdrawn (and at times all of those at once). There seemingly is no "plot" to speak of, but that is in fact not the case at all. It's just that the "plot" reveals itself with subtlety. Of course none of this would have been possible but for the astonishing performance of the little girl who plays Frida, wow, just wow Not enough can be said about that. The director smartly gives us a lot of interaction between Frida and Anna, with at times uninterrupted shots that seemingly go forever (in reality: a minute or two). The closing scene of the movie is both brilliant and heartbreaking. (Afterwards, the movie shows it is dedicated to the memory of Carla Simon's mother.)
"Summer 1993" premiered at the 2017 Berlin film festival, to immediate acclaim. I have no idea why it's taken 18 months for the movie to reach US theaters. The movie opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Saturday matinee screening where I saw this at was attended nicely (but nowhere close to sold out). If you like a top notch foreign movie that examines how a young girl copes with her mom's death, I readily recommend you seek this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this