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Archive for the ‘Summer Hours’ Category

Summer Hours – review – Film Comment #

Film Comment – #70 – Summer Hours – Olivier Assayas – 2009


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This is the second film from Assayas on the list, the first being “Demonlover” which I just reviewed. There are no two Assayas films that are alike. It is as if he turns himself into a different director each time. “Summer Hours” is his most recent effort, and it is a masterful portrayal of how time passes through generations, and is forgotten by most of us.

The film begins with a family meeting at their childhood home enjoying a summer day with their mother. The children have all grown up, and most of them have married and had children. They have gone on to wild success, and have moved to the States, and to Japan as well. The mother soon carts on of her sons throughout the house, pointing out all the relics of a life she lived. She once had a relationship with a famous artist, and much of his artwork, and other antiques reside behind every wall. The mother explains piece by piece, what her son is to do with the artifacts when she passes away. The son of course doesn’t want to hear any of this, she has a long time left to live. The children soon leave the house. The next time we see them, their mother is dead.

They must soon decide what to do with the house that has existed for generations in their family, and everything it is filled with. Some cannot even fathom departing with the house, and believe it should be passed on to their children, and their children’s children. Their lives are complicated though, they’ve moved on, and it is this conflict that is the driving force of the film.

“Summer Hours” deals with this concept of beautiful things that are laid to waste. It is about all of these gorgeous antiques that people once used, used in their homes for what they were meant for, and now they are stuffed in a museum for people to point at, or really to just pass over. It deals with the fracturing of a family history, as it splinters off into the future. It is an excellent portrait of a family.

Grade: A-