I always look forward to the Chicago European Union Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center every year – this one is their 19th annual, and it runs from March 4 – 31.
A frank and involving romantic drama, Catherine Corsini’s Summertime (La Belle Saison, a far better title than the clumsy alternate here) (France, 2015) owes a debt to Abdel Kechiche’s landmark Blue Is The Warmest Color in its slow-burn emphasis on individual intimacies and how true love can distort and/or enrich our lives. Delphine (Izïa Higelin) is an earnest and resourceful family-farm girl (already aware of her gender preferences) testing the waters of urban life in 1971 Paris. She falls in love with Carole (Cécile de France), a confident and passionate crusader for women’s rights, and joins the cause. Once the basic plot parameters have been established, Corsini (and co-writer Laurette Polmanss) zeroes in on the direct interactions of Delphine and Carole – Delphine’s sense of devotion and practical loyalties, and Carole’s coming to terms with how her feelings are pulling her life in unplanned directions. When a crisis hits Delphine’s farming family, she rushes back to them, and Carole follows closely after to help. Now they must negotiate their romance within the far more conservative confines of rural Limoges, and decide for themselves where they truly belong as a couple if they truly belong as a couple. The terrific script, excellent performances (Higelin, de France and Noemie Lvovsky as Delphine’s mother are all excellent) and Jeanne Lapoirie’s splendidly evocative cinematography all work to impressive effect here. I suspect this will show up in a regular theatrical run in the summer or fall, and it’s well worth your time now or then.
“Summertime” was shown on Friday, March 11th at 6:00 pm, but will screen again on Saturday the 12th at 6:15 pm.