Stars: Izïa Higelin, Cécile De France, Noémie Lvovsky, Kevin Azais, Laetitia Dosch.
Director: Catherine Corsini
Screenplay: Catherine Corsini & Laurette Polmanss.
Set in 1971, France, this film goes as you expect it to. But that does not make it any easier to watch as it still punches you in the stomach at how close minded every one used to be; from women's place in a man's world to any sexuality that is not hetero. In saying all of this, Summertime (La Belle Saison) is a beauty of a film.
Set in both Paris and in the country in the north this film is captures light in a way that makes the world seem both real and fantasy. The rays of sun simply heats up the frame so naming the film after the season is perfect.
The film centres around Delphine (Izïa Higelin) who has worked on her father's farm—her mother also works on the farm but being the 70's she has not real claim to it herself...— since she was young. She helps him and her mother until one day she decides to move to Paris to study. It is not clear why she packs up to go but it may have something to do with the fact that her girlfriend is about to marry a man in September. In Paris she runs into a woman's feminist group where she meets the beautiful Spanish teacher Carole (Cécile De France). While working together in the group they quickly become close until Delphine's father has a stroke and she must move back to help her mother with the farm. Carole can't stand to be away from Delphine so she decides to go help them out to be close to the woman she loves.
As I said before this film is beautiful in every form of the word; from the setting, the light, and actors, and the chemistry. Higelin & De France make for an interesting unit on screen, they compliment each other and their chemistry feels so natural that you forget that their characters have only known each other for such a short time.
The commentary of the period is so interesting, how back in the 70's women in France—and, well everywhere—had no real rights to a salary, home ownership, or the ability to handle her own money. The system was set that only the man had control over his wife's affairs and that was completely normal. And of course homosexuality is seen as a sin, something to fear, to fix or lobotomise away. Though only recently has the majority of people become accepting of queer people it is still disappointing to see how we have been treated in history—and still in many regions of the world. And while this film is set and is talking about society in the 70's, many of the same arguments are happening still today; abortion rights, equal pay for women, rape culture, and LGBT+ rights. Though it seems that we have come far, really it is quite a shock to see how little we have actually achieved since these women started fighting.
This film is pretty, it is also pretty light on the commentary while still focussing on it so if you would just like to watch a romantic film, Summertime (La Belle Saison) should be right up your alley—just don't expect it to be 100% happy.