In reading the synopsis, one might think that THIS FEELING OF The SUMMER is a dark story that focuses on the mourning but this is not the case at all. It is a film in the tone is slightly melancholic, which addresses the absence, the time which passes and life resumes its rights, with a delicacy and sensibility, the director Mikhaël Hers.
Berlin in the middle of summer, Ash, 30 years old, died suddenly, leaving his boyfriend, Lawrence, and his family in shock. Through four cities and on three consecutive summers, the director invites us without violence, and even with a lot of sweetness, and to discover the life “after”, of Lawrence, and Zoe (sister of Sasha). He offers us a vision at once modest and moving back to life through the prism of the summer season. Mikhaël Hers overlays and a feeling and a period of the year characterized by the same aspects as paradoxical as are the desert and the brightness, the whole film is built on these two aspects.
The first thing that speaks in THIS SENSE OF The SUMMER, this is the image : light and power narrative. We note that the grain of the image, which is anything but smooth, as the topic is different from that to which we are now accustomed. The fact that the film is shot on film (16 mm or super 16 to the end), with all that this implies, such as technical constraints, gives the whole a supplement of soul, something more authentic. This is essential, because the protagonist is not very verbose. A lot of things go by the feeling, the atmosphere or the tone print to the scenes, much more than the dialogues.
As to the light, whose place is, in this context, equally important, it is both reassuring and alive. Most of the scenes are shot at the sunset time, this time a bit ” magical “, especially in the summer, where the last rays are soft and soothing. But there is another element that passes through the image. It is the feeling of “emptiness” left by the mourning. For example, at the beginning of the film, the radiant light of the summer comes to particularly highlight the hard blue of several elements relating to the young woman who dies. Subsequently, some details of the same blue and distilled throughout the film will catch the eye and remind the absence of the latter.
Finally, the last factor that contributes to the aesthetics and visual power of this film is none other than these cities in which it was filmed : Berlin, Paris, Annecy, New York. Such rhymes, over the summers, the director takes us into worlds that are different but deeply connected by common elements, making echoes to each other. There are as well the same light, the same points of view in height, the same type of apartments, the same parks nearby, etc…. Their chronology is quite logical, it is succeeded by order of ” energy intensity “, the image of one of the protagonists that surfaced as the years go by. Only Annecy, we question but the “postcards” that we are offered to excuse its intrusion moderately justified.
“A vision that is both down-to-earth and touching the return to life, through the prism of the summer season.”
If it is perfectly successful visually, THIS SENSE OF The WAS present, all the same, a little flat at the level of rhythm, a little too slow. What cannot be denied is that this pace of change is accelerating, as the energy, in tune with the desire to live that again. However, we regret a certain inertia that frustrates more than it annoys. Indeed, it might be, but we do not get bored. On the other hand, we are waiting for something more. We would like to share more actions, more emotions, more episodes of the lives of these protagonists to which it attaches irreversibly. This is the second strength of the film : the empathy for the characters.
Remarkably well chosen, there are a few favourite actors of Mikhaël Hers already noticed in his first feature film Memory Lane : Stephanie Déhel, Thibault Vinçon, Dounia Sichov , and Mary River. But especially in the roles headlights, two ” new ” : Anders Danielsen Lie , and Judith Chemla. A complementarity wisely orchestrated, the two protagonists carry the film and are embodied by actors who take their role with the same sensitivity as the director. Judith Chemla is a slight awkwardness, and a natural, spontaneous and touching, which serve as its role perfectly. About Anders Danielsen Lie, almost insignificant at the start, the features angular and rather unprepossessing, he manages to reveal the character of Lawrence over the scenes. Restraint, silent and modest, he emerges gradually from its smiles and its eyes a sweetness, a delicacy and sensitivity which reflect the film and manages to move us. Without the great speeches, and we feel the weight necessarily heavier for him, the vacuum left by Sasha. One sees without effort the chaos caused in his daily life, where the family members are already more accustomed to the absence of the fact do not reside in the same country and do not live alone. In sum, a way that is both realistic and watered down to represent this sense of abandonment to which we are all confronted one day or the other.
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