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A Summer’s Tale

(Conte d'été)
France 1996. Dir: Eric Rohmer. 113 min. DCP

The third film in Rohmer’s sublime Four Seasons cycle reunites the veteran auteur with Amanda Langlet, the sun-kissed teen heroine of Pauline at the Beach, for another beguiling, beachside tale of jeune amour. Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud), one of the few male protagonists in late Rohmer, is a young, handsome, completely self-absorbed musician holidaying in Brittany for the summer. Awaiting the arrival of his not-quite girlfriend Léna — more a “habit of coincidence,” he clarifies — Gaspard begins courting the affections of sweet, smart, ethnology student Margot (a never-better Langlet), and then Margot's smitten friend. Léna, of course, shows up, pushing the moppy-haired romancer to choose between his three surprise suitresses. Repartee, per usual in Rohmer, only deflects from the emotional honesty so needed of the snowballing situation. “A masterpiece ... One of Rohmer’s very best films, and also one of the ’90s very best films” (David Ehrlich, A.V. Club).

 

REVIEWS

“Astute, unhurried, and gently amusing … Welcome to the magic of Rohmer.”

LA Times | full review

NYT Critic’s Pick | "A Summer’s Tale has room to focus on Rohmer’s brilliance at revealing human nature through articulate, multidimensional characters … It shares a deep kinship with Richard Linklater’s 'Before' trilogy.”

New York Times | full review