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"A Summer's Tale": The Problem of Meeting Too Many Women on Holiday 

Tuesday, Aug 26 2014
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Eric Rohmer's A Summer's Tale originally was released to French theaters in 1996, but the new HD restoration has the curious effect of making it feel more like a 1986 made-for-French-TV movie. Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud) is an introverted young mathematician and songwriter who arrives at a seaside resort town in Brittany for a three-week vacation before starting a new job. While waiting for his sorta-kinda girlfriend Léna (Aurélia Nolin) to join him, Gaspard strikes up a friendship with flirty waitress Margot (Amanda Langlet), who takes long walks with Gaspard and encourages him to hook up with her friend Solène (Gwenaëlle Simon). A Summer's Tale is shot very simply using natural light, with an emphasis on medium tracking shots of Gaspard and one of the three girls walking through Brittany, itself rather unremarkable as French seasides go. The archetype of the spunky yet unattainable girl who dedicates herself to helping a shy boy come out of his shell has been around for a long time, and probably isn't going away anytime too soon, but Margot almost feels like the template for that particular male fantasy. On the other hand, A Summer's Tale features sea shanties! It's great to see sea shanties getting some love, even if it's just in a decades-old and somewhat bland French film.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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