A shy maths graduate takes a holiday in Dinard before starting his first job. He hopes his sort-of girlfriend will join him, but soon strikes up a friendship with another girl working in town. She in turn introduces him to a further young lady who fancies him. Thus the quiet young lad finds he is having to do some tricky juggling in territory new to him.
Eric Rohmer’s characters are mostly intellectuals, and mostly not so bright. On one hand, this is to Rohmer’s credit, since it’s realistic; on the other hand, the rarer characters with more penetrating intelligence (as in, especially, “My Night at Maude’s”) are nicer to listen to. Rohmer’s characters love to yak on about ideas, art, and their feelings. The talk, on the most literal level, is generally unpersuasive, but relationships are formed through enjoyment of conversation, and character (not limited to vanity) is revealed via defensiveness and posturing.
“A Summer’s Tale” follows twenty-something Gaspard during his summer vacation at a seaside resort town in Brittany. The people in the movie have fewer blind spots than most Rohmer characters, but not fewer difficulties. For a theme song, I’d suggest Weird Al Yankovic’s “Good Enough For Now.” The girl Gaspard had planned to meet alternately blows him off and strings him along. Another girl he meets, with whom there is palpable chemistry, has a distant boyfriend she doesn’t seem very attached to. He vacillates on a third he is not crazy about but who bluntly conveys that she would take him. Gaspard is turned down twice for a romantic relationship (though not told to get lost entirely), and does the turning down once.
The interactions exhibit a believable mixture of genuine affection, indecision, and awkwardness. Rough edges are not glossed over as they might be by romanticism or in recollection. These might have been ingredients for a dull virtuous accuracy. But “A Summer’s Tale” moves at a good pace, turns in the story feel natural and mostly not inevitable, and the whole is affecting and memorable.
Director: Éric Rohmer
Writer: Éric Rohmer
Stars: Melvil Poupaud, Amanda Langlet, Gwenaëlle Simon
Release Date: 20 June 2014 (USA)
Also Known As: A Summer’s Tale
Filming Locations: Rue de la Malouine, Dinard, Ille-et-Vilaine, France
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media
Codec ID : isom (isom/iso2/avc1/mp41)
File size : 1.90 GiB
Duration : 1 h 53 min
Overall bit rate : 2 385 kb/s