The third of Eric Rohmer's Four Seasons romances follows the indecision of a young man who juggles three women during his final summer between school and work. Drifting along the beaches of Brittany while waiting for hi... more »s commitment-shy girlfriend, Lena, to meet him, Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud of Diary of a Seducer) becomes fast friends with pretty waitress Margot (Amanda Langlet, the grown-up Pauline of Pauline at the Beach a decade earlier) and has a fling with Margot's aggressive and sexy friend Solene before Lena finally shows. By then, Gaspard has inadvertently committed himself to all three women. It's a lovely portrait of awkwardness and ambivalence set against the gorgeous land and seascape of Brittany, and populated by pretty young performers. This, the most understated of Rohmer's sex farces, carries a bittersweet sting, but little of the emotional effervescence of his best films. While these characters are no less pretentious or vulnerable than his other lovers (who all seem to be emotionally at sea), Rohmer just skims the surface of their emotional revelation. His greatest achievement is the evocation of young adults caught between their teens and 20s, with little real experience but full of easily sidelined ideals. In the best Rohmer tradition, the circular conversations and solipsistic monologues are neither glib nor pretentious, merely the immature but sincere ramblings of vulnerable youth playing adult games. --Sean Axmaker« less
C. Santas | St. Augustine, Florida United States | 01/01/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Summer's Tale (1996), dir. Eric Rohmer (Winstar DVD, 2000)Reminds somewhat of Claire's Knee, similar lush landscapes, water resort type of setting, plenty of gorgeous beaches somewhere in the Atlantic side of France (Brittany), and of course typical Rohmer cinematography (Diane Baratier). Immensely entertaining, despite minimal action.This is the third of a series of Tales of the Four Seasons (reminding of Vivaldi's?), and possibly the most enticing. Like most Rohmer's stories, it isone of relationships on the verge of dissolution, or, rather, in a state a flux. No relationship in a Rohmer tale seems to be of a permanent nature-all seem to evolve, shift, fade, and come to life only to fade again, like the direction of a wind on the sand dunes.The format is similar to the others: one male, making choices between several females; one female choosing and rejecting suitors (Autumn Tale). Almost always, it seems a question of choices. In this case, a young man, Gaspard (Melvil Poupard), arrives at this seaside resort, to compose music on his guitar, while awaiting the arrival of his girlfriend Lena, who is to be there soon in the company of some cousins. Gaspard seems to have nothing else in mind but his music, but he does attract the attention of a young waitress, Margot (Amanda Langlet), with whom he starts a sort of platonic relationship. He has a Master's in mathematics, and she is a Ph.D. in ethnology. They take several walks together and exchange ideas, but no romance evolves. Margot is delicate, respecting his attachment to another girl, but evidently she likes him. Another girl, Solene (Gwenaelle Simon), vacationing there with her uncle and aunt and some friends, makes a stronger and more physical impression on him. But he is held back when she tells him that "on principle" she doesn't sleep with anyone on a first date. She in an in-between situation, having just "dumped" two former boyfriends. Solene does like Gaspard, though, but when he tells her he is waiting for Lena, she attempts to force him to make a decision: either her or me. Gaspard, not used to making decisions, wavers. Lena arrives in the meantime, but she, quite unlike the other two girls, is not always as well disposed and friendly. Her moods change constantly, "black and white" Gaspard calls them. She walks away in a fit of temper, so Gaspard now falls back on Solene, and when she turns moody, goes back to Margot, who by now feels like being the "substitute of a substitute." Gaspard only has a couple of days left for his vacation (the dates of each episode are flashed on the screen), but then Solene calls him and asks for a date, at 8:30 that evening; but then a few moments later, Lena, evidently in a turnabout "white" mood, also asks for a date, at 8:00 that evening, and he calls Margot to ask her advice; Margot, however is busy with her waitress chores-she will call back. Gaspard panics; what is he to do with three dates? But a phone call comes in the meantime, a friend telling Gaspard he has secured the purchase of a stereo he needed for a bargain price ($600 down immediately), which Gaspard has to borrow from his first month's upcoming job. This call saves him. Why bother about keeping his dates with these silly girls when his glorious music career is so promising? He is happy! One phone call has disentangled all these relationships.He does tell Margot, though, who understands, and takes him to the boat. Ideally, she is could have been the one.All three girls are attractive, Solene being the sexiest and the most evidently certain of her allurements. Lena has the most perfect body but the hardest of dispositions. Margot, somewhat chubby, is still good-looking, nicely disposed, and brainier than Gaspard. All are female temptations for this indecisive young Don Juan, who possesses all his male desires, but who understands nothing of what is called commitment.The story is not a sad one; Rohmer is adepts in avoiding the pitfalls of sentimentality. There is not love at first sight (or the second one), and physical passion is not the animalistic urge one sees in most American movies-whether the male is Michael Douglas or Brad Pitt. Gaspard is not particularly controlled at certain moments, but his emotional side is not ardent-taking a back seat to his "plans" (never quite stated). His relationships with these girls are fluid, more matters of the moment than what is seen as passionate preludes to triumphant love. But that is what the stuff of life is made of. Love here is not as in Jane Austen stories: a commitment that will eventually define moral character as well. In Austen, commitment to a person one loves becomes the primary consideration. Romantic love also thrives on that. It presupposes a sterling honesty, a purity of feeling if you like, that must remain unadulterated through thin and thick. But Rohmer does not give us romantic characters, and rather bursts the balloon of that delusion called romantic love-though does incline to the platonic variety; the latter suits his cast members better-a great deal of talk of friendship in the movie. Friendship (platonic preference) stays, does not demand or brawl as an obligation, and does not drag the body into the messy relationship. Gaspard actually does develop a platonic setup with Margot-and both are forced to be content with that, having not achieved the other sort. They will see each other again, somewhere.Beautifully told. An unpretentious tale that does not promise much, and what it delivers is an extra reward. Watching such a movie is a constant pleasure, one that one does not want to give up. All the moments between these four people are precious, nothing is wasted. The groupings are quite special-mostly two people against a lushly photographed background-waves, a flat and wide beach, a room, some country paths, and some scenes on a boat. As usual, there is no musical score, but there is music, only that which is heard in the background or sung by the participants. Complex simplicity, and unpretentious beauty-Rohmer trademarks."
A fortnight by the sea in charming company.
email@example.com | England | 01/29/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gaspard, played by Melvil Poupaud, is a song writer, a good-looking but dull young man, a gauche loner with a flat voice and an inexpressive face who comes to this delightful holiday island of Dinard off the Brittany coast to await the arrival of his "sort-of" girl friend, who demonstrates how much she loves him by keeping him waiting for two weeks. During those two weeks, however, he finds two other girl friends - or rather they find him. It must be his good-looks, it can't be anything else. First he is picked up in a restaurant by Margot, a waitress, who turns out not to be a waitress but an Ethnologist, just helping out her aunt who owns the restaurant. Obviously such a bright and intelligent girl could not be merely working-class!Amanda Langlet, who plays Margot and who appeared ten years earlier in Rohmer's "Pauline at the Beach." is clearly the star of this film. Much of the enjoyment of the film is derived from being in the company of this vivacious girl and being allowed to eavesdrop on her talk with Gaspard about love and relationships as they roam in the bright sunlight around this lovely French sea-side resort and the countryside beyond. She is such a very warm and sympathetic listener that it is difficult to understand why he doesn't fall in love with her. Why she doesn't fall in love with him is easier to understand. (you ask yourself; is this man a very good actor or a very bad one?) He makes a couple of inept attempts to move the relationship forward but is repulsed; she wants only friendship - and you feel he is lucky to get that - while she awaits the return of her Anthropologist boy-friend who is away in South America. Gaspard's dullness is made obvious when she takes him to hear an old sailor sing sea-shanties; her face so eager and enrapt as she listens intently; his face, alongside, so lifeless.She encourages him to take up with Solene, played by Gwenaelle Simon in her first film, a friend of her's who they meet at a dance, but when he does, she is jealous, jealous of their friendship she says but secretly hurt that he now thinks of her as only a friend.His relationship with Solene seems idyllic at first, they seem marvelously happy and well suited to each other. He is accepted warmly into her family, they all go sailing together and have a merry sing-a-long to one of his songs. But then, sadly, her true nature shows; she becomes aggressive and demanding, insisting that he take her to the island of Quessant or their relationship is at an end. And now Lena, his "sort-of" girl friend, played by Aurelia Nolin, appears and insists that he take her instead. He must now choose.Rohmer's films are never plot-dependent; he prefers to dwell on the characters, to bring us into a close, intimate relation with them, while they reveal themselves in talk. And when the characters are as attractive as Margot, who could ask for anything more?"
What a fresh french movie!!! I'm still in love with it!
Cristiano | Sao Paulo, SP Brazil | 06/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really don't have words to describe how sweet and delicated this movie is!!! I am still so in love with this movie; it can make me fly, just like in a dream... And the story is so real... Everyone can live a beautiful and modern story like that. When will I wake up from this fresh dream?"
A beautiful film...
M. B. Alcat | Los Angeles, California | 06/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""A Summer's tale" is the story of a young man and three women. All in all, not much happens, but I simply couldn't help finding this film engaging. The dialogues are beautiful, specially in some scenes, for example when one of the characters says that he can communicate well with others, but that he is not sure of being really himself when interacting with a lot of people.
The main character is a young musician named Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud). Gaspard doesn't know what to do, or whom he would like to be with. He thinks he is in love with capricious Lena (Aurelia Nolin), and goes on holidays to Dinard hoping to find her there. At Dinard, Gaspard meets a young waitress who also happens to be an ethnologist, Margot (Amanda Langlet). Margot quickly becomes his friend, and introduces him to Solene (Gwenaëlle Simon), an attractive and outgoing woman that Gaspard begins to date. Things become complicated when Lena arrives to Dinard, at the same time Gaspard is dating Solene and he realizes he has feelings for Margot. What can a charming but indecisive man do? Well, watch this film and discover it!
On the whole, I can say that I loved "A Summer's tale", the third film in Eric Rohmer's "Four Seasons" cycle. In a nutshell, it is beautiful film, the kind that makes you forget you are watching a movie and turns you into part of whatever is happening. I can only hope that "An Autumn tale" is nearly as good!
Rohmer's Summer Tale shimmers as brilliantly as the sun on t
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 03/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Along with his Six Moral Tales, A Summer's Tale (Conte d'été) ranks among my favorite Éric Rohmer films. The 1996 French romantic drama is the third film in his "Contes des quatre saisons" (Tales of the Four Seasons) series, which also includes A Tale of Springtime (Conte de printemps) (1990), A Tale of Winter (Conte d'hiver) (1992), and Autumn Tale (Conte d'automne) (1998). A Summer's Tale stars Melvil Poupaud, Amanda Langlet, Aurélia Nolin, and Gwenaëlle Simon in a subtly-nuanced love story about a reserved young man, Gaspard (Poupaud), who travels to the small seaside village of Dinard in Normandy to rendezvous with his sort-of girlfriend, Lena (Nolin), who has a real fear of commitment. While waiting for Lena to arrive, and wondering if she will arrive, Gaspard befriends an intelligent, outgoing waitress, Margot (Langlet of Rohmer's Pauline at the Beach), while also becoming entangled in a fling with her tres-sexy friend, Solène (Simon). When Lena finally arrives, hapless Gaspard finds himself committed to all three women. At one point in the film, Margot tells Gaspard that she has watched him change from "lovesick" to a "clumsy Romeo" to "crafty" to "quite naughty" to "basically decent but crafty" in just two weeks. This bittersweet romance reveals Rohmer at his best. At age 76, Rohmer understands adolescent relationships. The Rohmeresque dialogue shimmers as brilliantly as the sun on the Breton sea against which the Summer's Tale is set.