Summer Hours

L’Heure d’été

“A gloriously astute movie... about the stuff we possess and the hold it has on us: one of the year‘s real gems.” — Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph

Director: Olivier Assayas
Year: 2008
Country: France
Running time: 102 mins

France
Screenplay: Olivier Assayas
Producers: Marin Karmitz, Nathanaël Karmitz, Charles Gillibert
Photography: Eric Gautier
Editor: Luc Barnier
Set decorator: François-Renaud Labarthe
Costume designers: Anaïs Romand, Jürgen Doering
Sound: Nicolas Cantin, Olivier Goinard
In French with English subtitles
M drug references

With: Juliette Binoche (Adrienne), Charles Berling (Frédéric), Jérémie Renier (Jérémie), Edith Scob (Hélène), Dominique Reymond (Lisa), Valérie Bonneton (Angela), Isabelle Sadoyan (Eloïse), Kyle Eastwood (James), Alice de Lencquesaing (Sylvie)

Festivals: Edinburgh, Toronto, New York, Vancouver, San Sebastian 2008; San Francisco 2009

This lyrical, Chekhovian drama brings three adult siblings together to settle the estate of their late mother (the magisterial Edith Scob). Gathering at the lovely house they must agree to keep or to sell, surrounded by the exquisite collection she herself inherited from the artist uncle she revered, they measure the weight of their mother’s wishes and each other’s.

“A warm, wise drama about the tensions and mysteries of family life… It chronicles the interactions between the various characters with psychological subtlety and precision, even as it explores the changing roles played by art, property, work and blood-ties in an increasingly globalised world… It’s a film of deft, delicate nuances, particularly alert to the fact that everyone has not only his/her reasons but also, inevitably, secrets that will be borne to the grave. Perhaps the characters are finally a little too uniformly decent, but it would be churlish to bemoan the generosity of spirit in a film so beautifully performed, intelligently written and fluently directed.” — Geoff Andrew, Time Out

“Impeccably civilised drama… The oldest brother (Charles Berling) clings to the old house and the two Corots that will have to be sold, while his far-flung siblings have stronger attachments to their careers in America and Asia respectively. The problems of an haut-bourgeois family might seem trivial in world terms, but Olivier Assayas’ script asks deeper questions about ownership and the public purpose of art. Berling, as the melancholy nostalgist standing, Canute-like, before the waves of change, is especially good.” — Anthony Quinn, The Independent

 

Read The Lumiere Reader's recent review of Summer Hours