Gloomy young Parisian Delphine (Marie Rivière) faces her summer alone when her best friend cancels their travel plans to stay with her new boyfriend. Determined to have her vacation, she tries a number of alternatives but ... more »feels left out at a family retreat, runs into a former lover at a ski resort, and becomes completely cowed by her unlikely companion on the French shore, an uninhibited Swedish vacationer who sunbathes nude and picks up men for one night stands---a far cry from the insecure Delphine. Willowy Rivière plays Delphine with a combination of romantic idealism, headstrong determination, and uncompromising (often debilitating) demands, an impossible standard that leaves her lonely and wanting until she meets a handsome young man at the train station on her way back to Paris. The two become charmed by one another and, giddy with anticipation, Delphine insists they watch the setting sun to see the legendary green ray (the French title of the film is "Le Rayon Vert") in an ephemeral conclusion both magical and tenderly human. Rohmer changed his shooting style completely for the fifth film in his "Comedies and Proverbs" series, creating the characters in collaboration with the actors and shooting with only a script outline to create a largely improvised portrait of Delphine, but the easy rhythms, the gentle naturalism, and Rohmer's genuine affection for his characters, foibles and all, continue in his tradition of smart, sensitive, and delightfully witty romantic comedies. --Sean Axmaker« less
"I love this movie, so I was excited to get it on DVD. I was dissapointed. First, the image is full-screen, not matted, and it looked like I was watching a made-for-tv movie. Did Rohmer do this on film? I would assume so, but the image quality on this dvd is poor, grainy, and very faded. I would wait till the next DVD release, if there is one. The sound is okay, the subtitles are PERMANENT, so you can't remove them, and the scene access is a joke, there are only six scenes according to FoxLorber. But all in all, I think this ranks slightly above VHS (which is pathetic for a DVD), so if you want a better copy of this movie than your local video store get this!"
Rohmer's Ode to Joy
Debbie | Highland Park, IL United States | 12/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The plot: Delphine, a nice enough girl who may or may not have a boyfriend living somewhere in Europe, spends her entire summer vacation alone at a seaside resort, having a bad time.How can such a horrible premise make for such a wonderful film? Because Eric Rohmer has created a protagonist of such extraordinary depth. We easily put ourselves in Delphine's shoes. When she meets some shallow guy at a party, we want to tell him off. When her party-loving acquaintance picks up the cutest boy on the beach, we wonder why we can't do the same. When she is invited to a cookout where everyone mocks her vegetarian ways, we remember when we were outsiders and root for her to put them in their place.But mostly, during the magical climax, we are transported to a special moment in our own lives when our dream really did come true. The French title of Rohmer's masterpiece translates into "The Green Ray". Having seen this film a half dozen times, I can no longer watch the sunset without looking for the Green Ray. If you know what I mean, then you will surely love this film.Admittedly, the Fox Lorber transfer is lousy. I managed to get a halfway decent picture by tweaking the settings on my TV (turn the sharpness way up!)"
One of the best
RICH B | ITHACA, NY United States | 01/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The subject of this film , on paper, sounds trivial or indulgent: a nervous young woman wanders around France and seemingly makes it as hard as possible for herself to find happiness - she won't play the games most people play to entertain themselves, she won't go sailing, she won't cut flowers or eat meat, she won't consider a guy who only wants to have fun. Some viewers might even find Delphine irritating or spoilt - why doesn't she just compromise with her impossibly high standards and settle for ordinary human happiness? As with other Rohmer films, but here even more subtly and beautifully, there is a deep spiritual theme speaking through the light comedy of the plot. Delphine's obstinacy is also her spiritual strength. In a world without God Delphine's awe in front of nature and her respect for the ideal of love are the next best thing to faith. Notice, for example the wonderful scene where she walks along the shore in Biaritz but doesn't dive in the waves like the others because she has a reverence for nature which they do not. Every detail counts in this film, even though the improvised dialogue and naturalistic camerawork disguise the artistry. The final ten minutes pack an emotional punch as great as anything in cinema. Delphine's faith in sheer existence pays off and Rohmer communicates to us the awe which we should all feel at being alive but which we lose through conventional ways of living."
CRYING IN THE SUN
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 04/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"French director Eric Rohmer's SUMMER is one of the last comedies and proverbs this master has produced in the eighties. And it's one of his best movies. Anyway, how not to be amazed by the global quality of his production during more than 40 years ? With Eric Rohmer, you can really say that this director is leaving an artistic work to the posterity like Dickens or Picasso.SUMMER is a comedy ; not a comedy in the Disneyish sense of the word but rather a comedy reminding the pieces of the romantic French theatre of the XIXth century. One doesn't laugh during the vision of SUMMER, one smiles.Delphine, played by the Rohmerian Marie Rivière, is desperate. Two weeks before her summer holiday, her best friend, Catherine, has found a new boy-friend and plans to spend the summer in his arms rather than in the company of Delphine, even if it means adios to a trip into the greek islands. What to do in Paris, alone, in august ? For a girl like Delphine, a secretary dreaming all year long of her next holiday, it's a drama. So we follow, day after day, her quest for happiness. At this point, the comedy becomes tragedy as we find out that Delphine is the archetype of the solitary ; refusing the occasions to make new acquaintances, developing her differences to the extreme. You have to watch this scene involving a vegetarian Delphine trying to explain to her guests, average French steak-eaters, why it is not fair to eat meat ! Marie Rivière is outstanding in the role of Delphine and would have deserved an international award for her interpretation. The DVD in itself is deceiving as always with WinStar (ex-Fox Lorber). Grainy images with few contrasts.A DVD for your library."
Title misleading; not "A Tale of Summer," is The Green Ray
wdanthemanw | 08/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the charming story of how a young woman, overcome by self pity and negativity overcomes her ruined vacation plans by being captured by the story of the last ray of the sun, the green ray, and how her belief in that allows her to follow through on her attraction for a young man after a very sour series of experiences."