• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

A Summer's Tale

A Summer's Tale

Directed by Eric Rohmer. Starring Melvil Poupaud, Amanda Langlet, Gwenaëlle Simon, Aurelia Nolin. (1996, G, 113 min.)

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., Sept. 5, 2014

Made 18 years ago, but for some dubious reason never released theatrically here in the States, Eric Rohmer’s A Summer’s Tale finally hits theatres, getting a new spit-and-polish digital restoration in the process. And like a gentle breeze that makes that August afternoon in Austin all the more tolerable, the film is a welcome tonic to the cinematic landfill that gets pushed into theatres this time of year.

Heeding to the usual Rohmer template of a character agonizing over a decision, A Summer’s Tale follows young Gaspard (Poupaud), a recent graduate and budding musician, as he spends a few weeks in Dinard, a coastal town in Brittany, France, before embarking on a job in engineering. He’s come to hopefully meet up with Lena (Nolin), his “girlfriend,” a term I use in the vaguest possible sense. For Gaspard is not really sure he likes her, and he’s not really sure that she likes him, and she may not even show up at all. So, while strolling the beaches and wandering around town, he develops a friendship with Margot (the luminous Langlet, the titular character from Rohmer’s Pauline at the Beach), a waitress in a bistro. She introduces him to sensuous Solene (Simon), with whom he has a brief fling before running into Lena – spoiler: She shows up – and now, Gaspard must choose between them all.

It’s a theme that will be familiar to anyone who’s spent some time with Rohmer. He tended to explore the same geometric, intellectual-Dating Game structure in the majority of his films. The fact that he could do so, time and time again, with refreshing clarity and new insight is a tribute to how much of a master he was. Rare is the director who can elicit charmingly eloquent performances from (often) nonactors in such a way that you succumb to the idea that you are watching real life unfold before your eyes. Some dismiss his work as arthouse posturing, but his preoccupation with the often instinctive choices we make in this life, and their subsequent consequences are, more often than not, quietly revelatory. Fall into the rhythm of Rohmer’s beats, and you will hear the sound of humanity wrestling with everything that matters.

READ MORE
More Eric Rohmer Films
The Lady and the Duke
Of particular interest to Rohmer fans only, this stylistic experiment by the 82-year-old director of Claire's Knee and Chloe in the Afternoon is gorgeous to ...

Marc Savlov, June 28, 2002

Paris Vu Par …
Six French filmmakers make six films set in different sections of Paris.

Nov. 1, 2001

More by Josh Kupecki
Tabletop Games for the Holidays
Tabletop Games for the Holidays
Whether you’re a neophyte or a gaming guru, we’ve got you covered

Dec. 9, 2016

ATX TV Fest Drops First Round of Panels
ATX TV Fest Drops First Round of Panels
Designing Women and Northern Exposure reunions planned

Nov. 17, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

A Summer's Tale, Eric Rohmer, Melvil Poupaud, Amanda Langlet, Gwenaëlle Simon, Aurelia Nolin

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)