Bigger Than Life curate special 35mm screenings of under-shown and overlooked cinema.
Highly attuned to the laidback rhythms of summer, French New Wave master Éric Rohmer is well known for holiday hangouts such as Pauline at the Beach and The Green Ray. Lesser seen, but no less impressive, is 1996’s A Summer’s Tale — the third instalment in his thematically-linked “Tales of the Four Seasons” cycle. Unusually for a Rohmer film of this type, the plot revolves around a male lead: Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud), is young and indecisive, a self-serious musician-type who finds himself with three competing romantic possibilities whilst whiling away his summer on the beaches of Brittany.
Rohmer’s characters engage habitually in philosophically-tinged banter, as they walk-and-talk about life, love and sex. (Viewers familiar with Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy will find a common DNA.) Featuring stimulating sea air and gentle romantic entanglements, there are myriad cinematic pleasures to be found in the combination of idyllic surrounds, playful wit and attractive performers. But substance and humour lie more often than not in the half-glances and loaded silences that puncture conversations and expose self-delusions, as handsome, bushy-haired Gaspard’s refusal to commit resolves itself in farce.
The film will screen from a 35mm print.