Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Melancholic Inspiration

Ce sentiment d'lété/That Summer Feeling (2015) - Hers
The film starts in Berlin with Sacha (Stéphanie Daub-Laurent, Hers' regular) sleeping in bed with Lawrence (Anders Danielson Lie), getting up and going to a printing studio where she vigorously works with her screen print. It's a beautiful Summer day. On her way back in the park, she falls to the ground. She is pronounced dead in the hospital and her parents and Zoë (Judith Chemla), her sister who flew in, are in shock, as well as Lawrence. Sacha's death affects her immediate surroundings greatly. The film unhurriedly and beautifully show how they slowly recover from their grief but will carry their sadness with them forever.

Hers here expands his horizon, first Berlin, then Paris, Southern France and ends in New York. Zoë with her young son has moved back to her parents in the south. The separation from David (Thibault Vinçon), her husband was a mutual decision but with death of Sacha and everything, she is in limbo, trying to figure out her next move. Lawrence visits them and there is slight attraction between them. Zoë reminds him of Sacha.

Couple of years later Lawrence is back in New York. He had a past there. Working as a translator for a book company while writing his novel, he is surrounded by group of people including June (Lana Cooper), his sister and Thomas (Josh Safdie), his wise cracking, goofy friend. Then there is Ida (Dounia Sichov) in the group he hangs out with. Their mutual attraction is palpable. Liked all the sequences but NY part I loved it. He paints NY distinctly romantic. Williamsburg in the Summer has never been portrayed this cool in grungy eclectic ways.

Zoë visits Lawrence on the way to Kentucky. She has a long lost flame there who recently resurfaced in her life. They have a good time hanging out. Their gazes are tender and caring, sharing the same grief together. Zoë sees Lawrence having a good time with Ida, how they look at each other. There are no words exchanged but you feel the sadness and also relief in Zoë's gaze.

We grieve for the loss of loved ones. It is part of human life. It's always a matter of when. Preferably later in life, but it's not always that way. For Hers, the subject seems to be a constant source of melancholic inspiration for all of his small, delicate films concerning a group of mostly young twenty, thirty something people. I like Hers' contrast - these sensitive, intelligent Parisians in their prime with their hopes and dreams connecting with one another despite, or perhaps because of losing someone close. It's always Summer. The time of rejuvenation. Their sadness has not tainted their youthful exuberance but enhanced it by putting another layer on their characters, wizened them up, if you will. Ce sentiment d'lété is perhaps the best Hers film that epitomizes this youthful melancholy.