Summer Hours (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a multi-layered film, interested in the interconnections between overlapping lives, while taking on many themes from the meaning that possessions assume in our lives to the responsibilities we owe to the past and to the memories and wishes of our forebears. It raises issues of lasting vs ephemeral values, esthetic vs practical, monetary vs sentimental, materialism vs intangibles like loyalty, respect, passion, tradition. It tantalizes with the expectation of family secrets that are never quite revealed. It luxuriates in the languor of French countryside at the height of summer.
While the dilemma - what to do with the the art collection of a dead artist - suggests a kind of high-culture perspective on the subject, the film keeps bringing us down to earth with its interest in the conflicts that might exist between any family members left to sort out the belongings of a dead parent, while needing to get on with their lives. The closing scenes are a brilliant coda to the way the dilemma is resolved - the central characters are left behind as we follow the next generation - teenagers invading the abandoned country house for a last weekend of partying, their attention focused completely on the present and the beckoning future.
This is a wise and thoughtful film especially for older adults. See it with someone who has lived a good deal of life, and the two of you will have much to reflect on and comment about.
However, I think this film has much more to offer than just insights about memories, or generations, or possessions . . . .
It is the second in a series of films produced by Musée d'Orsay, after The Flight of the Red Balloon. Flight Of The Red Balloon [DVD] WS, Juliette Binoche
This film is a "map" of modern human consciousness.
It starts with a French family gathering in the provences at their family home. The aging mother, now 75 years old, played by lovely and charming French actress Edith Scob, has gathered with her children for a birthday. Her children have come from their careers, all over the world, to be with her. During the course of the celebration, they begin exchanging memories, sentiments, the realities of fulfilling careers in a modern global economy, and, the importance of their love and sentiment for each other.
In the wake of the mother's demise, the family explores the values that they hold most dearly. As all of us must face, in our modern lives, they make compromises so that they may continue with their careers, their global pursuits, and their relationships outside of the family. The denouement arrives when they decide to sell their mother's considerable estate, and, donate many of her objets d'art to the Musée d'Orsay.
The film witnesses the resolution of their grief, fears, hopes and dreams, as they gradually let go of the art that their mother had collected, and, which had surrounded them when they were children.Read more ›
For anyone forced to deal with a deceased parent's estate, director Olivier Assayas' examination of the cycle of life in one French family will strike a nerve of gentle guilt. While the matriarch is alive, the three adult children have no intention of disrupting the generational passing of precious heirlooms, but upon her death, the impracticality of maintaining a country home and possessing museum quality artwork transposes itself. With a degree of reluctance they free the past and embrace the future, not greedily, but with a strong sense of family pride.
This is a quiet film, more a slice of life than story. The inanimate artwork and home furnishings breathe as much life as the characters; an ancient sculpture in restoration during a tour of the museum where the children will donate much of the artwork exudes, nearly glows with the expression of all that had fondled or looked upon it. The cast has a breezy natural style revealing layers of conflicting emotions - guilt and reverence, sadness and happiness, security and doubt, especailly Charles Berling as the oldest son and Dominique Reymond as his wife, who later view the mother's possessions displayed in a museum. It's cold, he says or something to that effect of his mother's once practical furnishings - it has no life, no purpose.
In French with English subtitles.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie does a very subtle treatment of a French family's experience of the difficult decisions that must be made when it comes to deciding how to preserve a cultural legacy... Read morePublished 3 months ago by chrisfromnewhaven
Just not very good. Not enough happened, and I don't feel like this movie really said anything. It almost had the casual, insignificant feel of a reality TV show. Read morePublished 22 months ago by samspennell
boot-legged copy......not distributer copy, but still pleased to have any versionPublished on July 4, 2014 by Bobbie
In my opinion, this is an Accurate portrayal of the logistics, interactions and emotions between siblings in the death of a parentPublished on May 31, 2014 by Amazon Customer
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