Summer of 85
Directed by: François Ozon
France/Belgium, 2020, 101m
In French with English subtitles
Florida Theatrical Premiere
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“Mad I may be,” teenaged Alexis admits, “but crazy I am not. Don’t take me for a psycho. Corpses are not my thing. What interests me is death.” So opens French master François Ozon’s (Swimming Pool; 8 Women; Potiche, FFF 2011) 19th film, which has been nominated for 12 Cesar Awards (French Oscars) including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. With saturated Super-16mm flashbacks, Summer—set in the sun-drenched Normandy seaside—is a tender, bittersweet coming-of-ager centering on misunderstood and death-obsessed Alexis (Félix Lefebvre), who falls hard for “the friend of his dreams,” David (Benjamin Voisin), a slightly older, high-velocity life force. Credit their chemistry and the sensuality of two beautiful male bodies to portray the vibe of nowness that is a gift of the young. Ozon captures the heady high of first love and sex, the pain and desperation of heartbreak and lost innocence, and finally self-acceptance and understanding. Blending nostalgia, queerness, humor, and thriller sensibilities —as well as incorporating ‘80s music, from The Cure to Rod Stewart—this adaptation of YA author Aidan Chambers’s groundbreaking 1982 novel Dance on My Grave is an extraordinarily sensitive and bittersweet queer romance for the ages.