Widely hailed by critics as 2009’s best film, Summer Hours
is the great contemporary French filmmaker Olivier Assayas’s most personal film to date. Three siblings, played by Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, and Jérémie Renier, must decide what to do with the country estate and objects they’ve inherited from their mother. From this simple story, Assayas creates a nuanced, exquisitely made drama about the material of globalized modern living. Naturalistic and unsentimental yet suffused with genuine warmth, this is that rare film that pays respect to family by treating it with honesty.Director-Approved Special Edition Features:
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Olivier Assayas and cinematographer Eric Gautier (with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
- New video interview with Assayas
- A short documentary featuring interviews with Assayas and actors Charles Berling and Juliette Binoche, and showing the cast and crew on set
, an hour-long documentary by Olivier Gonard, shot partly in Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, that examines the film’s approach to art
- Theatrical trailer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
DVDCriterionforum.org user rating averages
Blu-rayCriterionforum.org user rating averages
Not sure how many people are into this movie but I find my own reaction fascinating. It went from respectful indifference to obsessive rumination, and finally resulting in an aggressive eagerness for a second viewing. Although I disagree with 50% of the reviews written by Noel at DVDTimes, his observations
on Summer Hours
are spot-on. This is an extremely understated film, rare in French cinema and dichotomous to Desplechin. Assayas has learned from the best of Ozu and Hou, cultivating emotional depth in narrative restraint, while still working with that fluid, unobtrusive, and energetic mise-en-scene, all bearing the stamp of his name. It is also true that the film has one of the most powerful endings ever; it blew up my mind in cinema and still blows up my mind whenever I reflect on the experience.
Having seen Assayas' other films since then, I now feel more resonance in my reflections and more appreciation for Assayas' comment that this is the summation of his work so far. In some ways I doubt one can fully embrace Summer Hours
without being an Assayas fan (notably for L'Eau froide
and Late August, Early September
). This now joins L'Intrus
and Three Times
as one of the finest "best of" moments in a filmmaker's career.
The Artificial Eye DVD is coming near the end of the month. I am glad there aren't too many ridiculous quotes and obscene stars on the cover.