Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Passing Times

L'heure d'été/Summer Hours (2008) - Assayas
Light touches, a lot of room for actors but mostly Olivier Assayas's Summer Hours is about feelings, nostalgia without sentimentality. Three grown up siblings, an economics prof. Frederick (Charles Bering) the eldest, NY based designer Adrienne (Juliette Binoche) and Jeremie (Jérémie Renner), a Puma factory manager in China, gather with their children and spouses for their mom Helen (Edith Scob)'s birthday at an idyllic summer house filled with precious art and furniture. It is their childhood home with many personal memories and secrets. Helen, at 75, knows that her days are numbered, so she starts arranging things and pesters her children about divvy-ing up the the house and assets. They wouldn't hear any of it. But after Helen dies, with financial instability, they decide to sell the house and have all the art liquidated- many of them being donated to Musée d'Orsay for tax purposes. The grown ups don't have much attachment to the house anymore and too busy with their own lives.

In a typical Assayas fashion, the director orchestrates the star studded cast with balance and care. The result is a warm, mature, harmonious film that reflects human experience.  But heart of the film belongs to Edith Scob's presence and grace in the first 30 minutes. Loved Binoché's bitchy, unsentimental Adrienne. Also loved two contemplative moments: one with Helen sitting alone in the dark and one with Frederick alone in the shadows. And what a finale: Alice de Lencquesaing from Father of my children, now a slightly mischievous teen, provides the well deserved, poignant, fitting ending sequence to the film.

No comments:

Post a Comment