Program 31 – Summertime
France / 2015 / 105 min. | Directed by: Catherine Corsini
In French with English subtitles
WARNING: This film has graphic sexual content.
It’s 1971 in Limoges, France, when we meet 25-year-old Delphine (Izia Hegelin), the dedicated only child of hardworking farmers. She shoulders more weight than the male farmhands and puts in the extra effort to help her aging father. Surprisingly for the time, she’s earned the grudging respect of the rest of the (male) farmers and farmhands in their small, conservative town. Now, if she’d just give in and marry Antoine like she’s supposed to, settle down and have kids, everything would be perfect.
Unbeknownst to everybody else, Delphine has no intention of marrying Antoine. Because Delphine has a girlfriend. But when that relationship goes south, she spontaneously packs up and moves herself to Paris, where she finds a little apartment, a respectable office job, and Carole (Cecile De France, High Tension). Carole is 35 and every bit the radical feminist of the 70s. She leads her local Women’s Lib group, stages protests, and even helps break her gay friend out of an asylum. Carole also has a very enlightened boyfriend at home and – much to her own surprise – an inability to resist her attraction to Delphine.
No sooner do Delphine and Carole start up an intoxicating affair (their chemistry is palpable) then Delphine is called home for a family emergency. Missing her too much, Carole soon follows and is unprepared for the role reversal that hits them square in the face. In Paris, Carole was the more experienced one, the one who led while Delphine followed. But on the farm, the opposite is true as Carole feels her feminism take many steps backwards in the face of the chauvinistic farmers. And while sneaking into each other’s bedrooms in the middle of the night is sexy and fun for a while, it grows tiring for Carole, who wants a life with Delphine and is surprised to realize just how closeted she actually is. While Carole is torn between city and country, Delphine struggles with her wants versus loyalty to her family and what’s expected of her. She enjoys farming. She’s good at farming. She’d actually like to have her own farm some day (unheard of for a woman back then), and that’s enough stereotype busting for her.
While Carole wants her to come out to her friends and family – to live openly – Delphine hesitates, and watching the two try to navigate it all is at times funny, touching, infuriating, and heartbreaking.
Director Catherine Corsini (La répétition) doesn’t shy away from nudity or displays of sexuality, as her camera seems to love her actresses. The widescreen cinematography is gorgeous, capturing the pastoral fields and meadows that serve as backdrop to this alluringly bittersweet romance.
— Georgia Beers
Winner: VARIETY PIAZZA GRANDE AWARD Locarno International Film Festival Official Selection: BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival Official Selection: Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival Official Selection: Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival Official Selection: Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival Official Selection: Toronto International Film Festival