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Été 85

Summer of 85

France / Belgium 2020
produced by
Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer for Mandarin Films, FOZ, France 2, Playtime Production, Scope Pictures, RTBF, Canal+, OCS, France Télévisions
directed by François Ozon
starring Félix Lefebvre, Benjamin Voisin, Philippine Velge, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Melvil Poupaud, Isabelle Nanty, Laurent Fernandez, Aurore Broutin, Bruno Lochet, Yoann Zimmer, Antoine Simoni, Patrick Zimmermann, Samuel Brafman-Moutier, Benjamin Allouche
screenplay by François Ozon, based on the novel Dance on My Grave by Aidan Chambers, music by Jean-Benoît Dunckel

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Living in a coastal town, 16 year old Alexis (Félix Lefebvre) takes the boat of a friend for a spin one day, but then it capsizes in a storn, and it's just good luck David (Benjamin Voisin) stops by in his boat to give Alexis and boat a tow back to the port. Alexis and David become great friends after that, and David gives Alexis a summer job in the boat supply store he runs with his mother (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) - and soon, David and Alexis become more than just friends and have sex. Thing is, David, a good-looking guy, soon attracts the attention of Kate (Philippine Velge), a British au pair, and flirts with her quite heavily in front of Alexis, and soon Alexis learns they actually had sex as well. Alexis makes a scene and even thrashes parts of David's shop before running off - and later that day he learns from the TV that David has died in a motorbike accident. David's mother accuses Alexis of having killed her son as when he died he was trying to catch up with Alexis to make up, which breaks Alexis' heart. But to really cope with David's death, he needs to see his dead body one last time, and he needs to dance on his grave, something he has promised him he'd do when David was still alive. But with David's mother being dead-set against anything concerning Alexis, both things are even harder to accomplish as they sound, and ironically the only person who's willing to help Alexis achieve his goals is Kate, the very girl who (unwillingly though) was the catalyst to everything that has happened ...

 

This film pretty much could have been any number of things, from teenage tearjerker to clichéed 80s hommage, but fortunately, Francois Ozon is a filmmaker with a sure enough hand to avoid kitsch and camp (unless where necessary) and tell the film's touching story in a very original way, not only by massive use of flashbacks, but also by mixing enough comedy into the drama to actually make this one a very uplifting experience - and a very good watch for sure!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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