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SERIES / REVIEWS Italy

Series review: Summertime

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- Available from 29 April, this new, Italian Netflix Original series, produced by Cattleya and revolving around a teenager’s summer love, has a slightly vintage flavour

Series review: Summertime
Andrea Lattanzi, Amanda Campana, Ludovico Tersigni, Coco Rebecca Edogamhe and Giovanni Maini in Summertime

Summer is arriving early on Netflix with the new original Italian series Summertime, which shows us everything we won’t be able to do this year, courtesy of the pandemic: parties with friends, dips in the sea all together, fleeting relationships and loving embraces in the sun. But what we can do is dream, and so from 29 April, subscribers to the global streaming platform will be able to follow the vicissitudes (very loosely based upon Federico Moccia’s book Tre metri sopra il cielo) of a group of adolescents from the Adriatic coast, caught between first loves, family conflicts and an eagerness to grow up and immersed in the hot and vibrant colours of a modern-day summer reminiscent of the 1960s ambiance in Time for Loving.

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It all unfolds along the expansive, umbrella and sun lounger-filled beaches of Cesenatico, “a place for losers” for anyone who lives there all year round. But from June, it throbs with tourists and beautiful holidaymakers who “turn up, break hearts and leave”. It’s the season of love, and every character in this eight-episode series experiences it in his or her own way, from the protagonist Summer (the delightful newcomer Coco Rebecca Edogamhe, a far from obvious casting choice), a pretty and sensible 17-year-old who, despite the name she carries (or perhaps precisely because of it) hates the summer. The difficult days she spends dealing with a younger sister who needs straightening out (Alicia Ann Edogamhe, the actress’s sister in real-life), a somewhat flighty mother (the singer-songwriter Thony, recently seen in Ordinary Happiness [+see also:
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) and an absent father, take on a different flavour altogether when she meets Ale (Ludovico Tersigni, previously enjoyed in Slam - Tutto per una ragazza [+see also:
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and Skam Italia), a twenty-year-old boy from Rome who moved to the coast as a child to accommodate his manager-father’s (Mario Sgueglia, seen in The Champion [+see also:
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) glory-filled dreams of becoming a motorcycle champion. But now Ale wants to take his life back into his own hands, and his relationship with Summer will help him to rediscover who he is.

First, however, Ale will have to win over Summer who, at the beginning, despite being seriously attracted to him, is deeply suspicious of this charming and rebellious boy who’s so different from her. Unfolding around this main plotline are various sub-stories led by Sofia and Edo who are Summer’s best friends (Amanda Campana, another stunning revelation, and Giovanni Maini, respectively), and Dario (Andrea Lattanzi - Manuel [+see also:
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), Ale’s lifelong friend and trusted mechanic; subplots which essentially explore impossible or unavowable love, along the lines of “he loves her, while she loves another who, in turn, loves another”. And, come the end of summer, none of them will be the same person they were three months earlier.

In the face of the series’ hefty production efforts in terms of set design, cinematography, costumes and music (ranging from contemporary indie-pop to the great Italian classics of the 1960s), its high-level actors (also worth a mention in the cast is Maria Sole Mansutti, who plays Ale’s mother) and the impeccable direction coming courtesy of Lorenzo Sportiello and Francesco Lagi, it’s arguably the script which slows it all down somewhat, resorting, at times, to implausible plot developments or stoking up forced misunderstandings between the characters. Compared with explosive series like Sex Education, Baby and the afore-mentioned Skam, the teenagers in Summertime are portrayed in a simple and slightly old-fashioned language, no doubt in line with the overall production concept which, with its vintage touches and nostalgic tones, might be aimed at reeling in wider audiences. Because ultimately, now more than ever, we all need to dream: about the sea, the beaches, the hugs and the life that we all enjoyed before.

Produced by Cattleya, Summertime is available on Netflix from today, 29 April.

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(Translated from Italian)

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