Summer Of 85 Review
An homage to the first sexually sexy films (Young and Gorgeous, The Swimming Pool), Francois Ozon's Summer Of 85 is a melancholy seaside romance that takes place in one brutal season (yep, Bananarama are on the soundtrack). A reworking from Aidan Chambers' 1982 young adult novel Dance On My Grave (Ozon continues to find fresh material for his films) This is an excellent film that perfectly conveys the joy of being young as well as the joy of love at first sight, but keep a mysterious element bubbling in the background to ensure the story doesn't get overly sweet, but take off on an unexpected note.
The main character is the death-obsessed teenager Alex (Felix Lefebvre) who is in the custody of the police following the death of an older wiser, more worldly David (Benjamin Voisin). The social worker is telling him that he'll be taken down if he doesn't tell the police about what occurred, Alex is advised by his writing instructor Professor Lefevre (Melvil Poupaud) to record his thoughts down on paper in case they are not able to express his thoughts.
The film was shot on Super 16mm. it often feels as if it's from earlier than the '80s.
From this point on the film, the story unfolds in flashbacks (cue the grooving The Cure's song 'In Between Days'), with Alex meeting David after David saves him from a boating accident. The rest of the film is a charming middle portion, which sees the two meeting up by visiting fairgrounds, attending films and helping a drunk in the street, scary motorbike rides, and an amazing scene in a nightclub, with the music of Rod Stewart's "Sailing' (it seems to have taken seven years to traverse the Channel). But the idyllic world is shattered when a young English au couple Kate (Philippine Velge) is seen at the beach and creates tension between the to now happily married couple.
It's Ozon in a less subversive manner (although the plan to visit David's remains involves an intergalactic joke) and bringing back the 1980s in apparent (Kate dresses reminiscent of that period's Madonna) and more subtle (how many times do Lloyd Cole And The Commotions"Forest Fire" appear on the soundtrack?) different ways. Filmed on Super 16mm film, it can sometimes feel like it's more than the 1980s. But it's never an Wedding Singer nostalgia fest. The music composed is composed by Jean-Benoit Dunckel, one half of French pop duo Air is refreshing and unique, while Voisin and Lefebvre, a real force create a feeling that is heartfelt and authentic.