Saturday, October 17, 2020

NewFest: Fast "Summer of 85" Thoughts

Screening tonight as part of NewFest is François Ozon's long-awaited-by-yours-truly romantic reminiscence Summer of 85, which I've posted about non-stop since its first very-CMBYN glimpse at Cannes this spring -- and there are still tickets available! Tear into it! The also good news: Music Box Films is planning on releasing the film in 2021, which isn't too far away if we can, you know... make it through the next few months intact. Always a question in 2020! The not-so-good news though, from where I stand: because the film will be out in a few months Music Box is asking us to hold off on writing full-length reviews until closer to the movie's release. 

Not so good for me because I have a lot, a whole lot, to say about this wonderful and moving motion-picture. I wanna go off with the superlatives! Slap all my social sentiments on the blu-ray case. Alas. I'm forced to keep it brief for now. First, I'll just go on and tell you the plot-stuff: Alexis (Félix Lefebvre) meets cute David (Benjamin Voisin) when a storm almost washes him out to sea. The two immediately hit it off, and friendship quick turns to more than friendship. But this being an Ozon movie romance is never far from tragedy, and the boys' happy ending is anything but assured. Love is real complicated in Ozon-land. 

The trailer, as I've noted, makes the film look like Ozon's spin on Call Me By Your Name, and... it is. It very much is that. But Ozon is a very different filmmaker from Guadagnino, so this is sort of like you've tossed the same ingredients to two master-chefs and let them make whatever they wanted -- the movies are a very different tonal experience. Sweet versus savory. That said I don't think this film exists without CMBYN, and there are moments that absolutely feel like Ozon nodding towards the former with very clear and deep affection. The films are definitely having a conversation. There's one passage in particular in the middle that felt to me like Ozon summarized that gigantic love letter to CMBYNthat I wrote way back when with ten seconds of screen-time. He just did it with cinema.

Anyway, as you can see, I want to get into it, but I'll save it all for 2021. Summer of 85 is very much worth snatching up a ticket to here at NewFest, although I'll admit I'd have loved to have seen Ozon's gorgeously filmed French shorelines on a big screen, and I very much hope that will be a possibility next year with its proper release. It's not the non-stop sun-dappled fantasy that Guadagnino's film was, but Ozon purposefully flirts with that sensation in a couple of exquisite passages, and the film casts a spell or two of its own. Very much worth seeing, and very much worth talking about... eventually. (Watch the trailer here.)


cinema omnivore said...

Watched it in Europe, the CMBYN semblance is quite misleading, all I can say Ozon maintains his dark streak.

Bill Carter said...

Haven't seen "Été '85", but the trailer was strongly reminiscent of the beautiful 1994 French film "Wild Reeds".

Here's the original trailer:

For me, that gorgeous, wordless motorcycle scene--echoed in "Été '85"---was an unforgettable portrait of youthful longing. And I crushed on Gaël Morel for years after that.

And here's the German trailer:

JimmyD said...

I can't wait for your review! I was lucky enough to score a copy, which I have watched a few times.