FICX 2023 | In ‘The Last Summer’, the most improbable of summer romances reminds us that desire has no morals

After a decade without releasing a film, Catherine Breillat returns under his jurisdiction. It is, as always, about film how desire spills out and crashes against the walls of the norm and the so-called hell of others. Those familiar with the films of this unbribable provocateur may find it a more subtle and refined film. But, in essence, everything is still there.

The last summer is freely inspired by the Danish film Queen of Hearts, directed by May el-Toukhy in 2019, to chronicle a turbulent period in Anne’s life (Léa Drucker), a brilliant lawyer: Théo’s emergence into her quiet married life (Samuel Kircher), that her husband had in a previous relationship, will awaken drives in both of them to the limit of reason. But, at the end of the day, what is reason for if it is not to be violated by emotions?

‘The Last Summer’: review


Two or three summers ago, I went to spend a weekend at the house that some friends had rented in Besalú. It was sticky hot and our skins were food for mosquitoes, which were everywhere. My friends told me that they wanted to do a summer film series and I promised to bring you some refreshing teen movie: I chose A young girl’s life, the controversial debut of Catherine Breillat in 1976, which I had seen shortly before. I thought the movie would shake them up in a good way: I don’t know if it turned out well at all, but Their faces during the screening were a poem.

Perhaps Breillat never again filmed anything as epidermal and genuinely unpleasant as that story about a girl who transforms her life’s boredom into sexual insubordination, but that equation would permeate her entire subsequent filmography. During a discussion, The last summer, Anne asks her husband (Olivier Rabourdin) if he will not be a normopath, adding that to her Normal people and things get on her nerves. During much of the footage, Lea Drucker It moves in a prodigious balance that filters without apparent effort everything that happens to it, which is no small thing.

At the other pole of this tempestuous romance is Samuel Kircher that makes Théo all voluptuous. Engrossed in his part-time mobile phone, when he wanders around Anne’s apartment He looks like someone who came into this world to carelessly split it open. Breillat and the veteran Pascal Bonitzer They advance the plot like a precision mechanism that relaxes when the bodies get closer: in addition to a beautiful shot, at the beginning, in which Anne caresses her husband’s naked torso, a car trip is also extremely seductive, when the seed of an inconvenient desire has been planted, while the sky darkens and sounds Dirty Boots of Sonic Youth.

The great asset of The last summer It is the calm ambiguity with which events occur: Breillat is not interested in psychologisms, and the first half of the film naturally shows family dynamics – the couple also has two charming adopted girls – in which the affair between Anne and Théo is observed as something curious, without more: an attraction that perhaps did not have to happen but has happened, and it is good. However, when the film evolves towards a power game, more attached to, let’s say, current issues, the tone becomes serious.

The tension, then, is transferred in a certain way to the outside of what we are being told, which no longer matters as much as venturing where this Breillat will emerge, where it will dynamite our expectations. The last breath of the film will suffice, whose abrupt last shot will surely be among the best of the 61st Gijón International Film Festival, which has just begun.

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