By Roger Costa
Director Catherine Corsini continues to examine society’s public opinions and moral dilemmas with her new provocative film. For instance, her previous work, “Three Worlds” investigated the consequences of a group of people hiding important truths, which she declared to me on an exclusive interview that was “a statement about losing compassion and being manipulated by capital interests”. Extremely erotic and deeply moving, “Summertime” also delves into similar aspects of hiding the truth and suffering the consequences of miscomprehended desires: it follows the complicated and intimate personal journey of Delphine, a young woman in search of freedom, liberation and self-acceptance, while capturing details of her process of growing mature.
The screenplay, also written by Corsini, highlights the initial dialog between Delphine and her father as a constant element throughout the narrative: while they are keeping care of the farm, her father advises that ‘loneliness is a terrible thing’ and she should consider finding a partner. When night falls, Delphine escapes from her busy farmer life to secretly meet another girl and consummate her private desires, but she is heartbroken by the news that the girl is leaving to get married. Corsini now presents Delphine wandering the street of 1971 Paris and concluding her education. There, she finds the opportunity to shape her courageous personality, especially when she’s increasingly attracted to a revolutionary feminist movement, becoming a key player in their strategies of defying authorities. And so, she meets a stable mature woman with whom she develops an intensely physical and emotional challenging relationship, going straight into conflict with society, moral standards, her family and the man who still dreams of conquering her heart.
Director Corsini has a natural power for capturing common anxieties and perspectives on the human condition when faced by their own fear of love, or when struck by self-revelations acquired while learning of inner emotions. She strongly coordinates the story about finding freedom with seductive ambiguity and cautious observations on public reactions- especially when the women are trying to manifest their rights for abortion, labor equity, dignity and value.
SUMMERTIME also has at its favor the exuberant work of two daring performers: Izia Higelin as the young Delphine, and Cecile De France as her mature guidance and love interest. They surrender themselves to their roles with impressive characterization of their struggles, both political and emotional, as well as their engagement in several sex scenes, captured with rawness and intense luminous beauty.
Deeply feminine, audaciously hot and intriguing, SUMMERTIME is an accomplished look at a woman’s universe in search of reasons for love, family and society.
(Opens Friday, July 22nd at Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center in New York City. A Strand Releasing)