Choose your language en | es | fr | it

Review: My Summer of love

email print share on facebook share on twitter share on google+

Bewitchment and deception

by 

- A strange passion between two teenage girls against a background of religious mysticism, deep in the heart of Yorkshire. A second full-length film confirming Pawel Pawlikowski as an original talent

Review: My Summer of love

Far removed from the social realism of Ken Loach and the Ken Loach direct-alikes, the British cinema has found itself a new and charming face in the person of the Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski. After a first fictional full-length film Transit Palace (Last Resort), released to global acclaim in 2001, the director upped the ante with My Summer of Love [+see also:
trailer
film focus
interview: Jean-Paul Rougier
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
interview: Tanya Seghatchian
film profile
]
, which won the award for Outstanding British Film of the Year at the last Bafta Awards. By subtly perverting the codes of adolescent tales, the director manages to mould a highly personal universe in which the characters retain their part of mystery in a bewitching visual environment. The Pawlikowski style distils a charm that gradually instils itself, happily integrating contemplative sequences and never averse to interrupting the most emotional scenes, using a banal summer fling to tackle universal themes.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Adapted from Helen Cross’s 2002 novel of the same name, My Summer of Love [+see also:
trailer
film focus
interview: Jean-Paul Rougier
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
interview: Tanya Seghatchian
film profile
]
recounts the meeting and the idyll of Mona (Nathalie Press) and Tamsin (Emily Blunt), two 16-year-old girls with nothing in common. The former lives in a small isolated village in one of the Yorkshire valleys with her brother Phil (Paddy Considine), an ex-con converted into a religious Born-Again-Christian activist. With little in the way of prospects, she happens to meet typically middle class Tamsin, on "holiday" (she’s actually been expelled from school) in the family villa. "I’m a bad influence", declares the elegant young lady born with a silver spoon in her mouth, who plays Saint Saens on the cello, listens to Edith Piaf and drinks wine while stretched out on the grass. Fascinated by this inaccessible world and fleeing her brother and his entourage who get high on prayer in their obsession with the war pitting Good against Evil, live-by-her-wits Mona will instinctively get involved in a love affair goaded on by lie-through-her-teeth Tamsin. But she’ll only end up being disillusioned with a truth which eats away at her hopes and also unmasks her hypocrite of a brother.

Unravelling a to-all-appearances classic plot, Pawel Pawlikowski manages to create a strange, out-of-time microcosm (no gadgets, no TV sets, no phones), a tequila-coloured countryside in saturated colours that go with Mona’s red hair. Balancing the sophisticated aura given off by the mythomaniac intellectual, Tamsin, as she cases Mona the go-getter’s joint (a pub converted into a temple), the film paints a credible portrait of the relationship between two teenage girls played by actresses who will very soon be hogging the headlines. But the insidious Pawlikowski stamp shows itself above all in the methodical progression of bucolic scenes leading up to the final jolt where the brother’s faith collapses faced with the temptations of the flesh, where Tamsin’s supposedly dead sister suddenly reappears and where Mona, betrayed, almost commits murder, brutally baptising her ex in a mirroring of the bathing scene in which they first declared their love for one another. Peppered with discreet symbols, My Summer of Love [+see also:
trailer
film focus
interview: Jean-Paul Rougier
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
interview: Tanya Seghatchian
film profile
]
highlights people’s will to transcend and overtake others all the while respecting the complexity and irrationality of such behaviour. A non-explained prejudice that lends an indefinable taste to the film, as original as the contribution of Pawel Pawlikowski’s Slav cinematographic skills to a script and decor that couldn’t be more English. A captivating mixture wrapped up in a Goldfrapp soundtrack.

(Translated from French)

photogallery

international title: My Summer of Love
original title: My Summer of Love
country: United Kingdom
sales agent: The Works International
year: 2003
directed by: Pawel Pawlikowski
screenplay: Michael Wynne, Pawel Pawlikowski
cast: Nathalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine

main awards/selection

BAFTA Awards, 2005 Best British Film
Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2004
cinando

Follow us on

facebook twitter rss

ArteKino

Newsletter

Les Arcs call
Unwanted_Square_Cineuropa_01