Combustible Celluloid
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With: Félix Lefebvre, Benjamin Voisin, Philippine Velge, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Melvil Poupaud, Isabelle Nanty
Written by: François Ozon, based on a novel by Aidan Chambers
Directed by: François Ozon
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: French, with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 06/18/2021

Summer of 85 (2021)

3 Stars (out of 4)

In-Between Days

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director François Ozon conjures up a sunny, lazy, slightly awkward Eric Rohmer vibe for this sweet, sad story of a naïve, doomed romance (with lots of floppy hair). Alexis, who also goes by "Alex" (Félix Lefebvre) is sailing by himself in a friend's boat when he capsizes. The dashing rogue David (Benjamin Voisin) rescues him, whisks him back home, and plunges him in a hot bath. Alex gets a job in a fishing-supply shop with David and his nutty mom (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) and begins a torrid summer affair. But David grows bored and begins seducing English tourist Kate (Philippine Velge), leading to a fallout and a tragedy. It doesn't quite reach Rohmer-like heights, but Ozon manages to avoid Eighties nostalgia, aside from a well-placed tune by the Cure, and crafts a less-glitzy, yet more emotional version of Call Me by Your Name. His suggestions of eroticism — a pair of wet jeans, David's mom undressing Alex for the bath, a motorcycle ride — are teasingly potent, and slyly effective. The culminating image, a dance on a grave, is a poem of innocence lost.

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