Summer films: No.1

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Photo by Slim Aarons

Even though it poured with rain here yesterday and is still only 13 degrees, I still feel that summer is just around the corner and with that in mind, I’ve put together some of my favourite summer films and will be posting one a day. No list can be definitive, of course, and there are a few omissions – notably Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ and Rob Reiner’s ‘Stand By Me’ for the simple reason that I haven’t yet seen them. Also, I’ve tried to strike a balance between English speaking films and foreign language ones, although you’ll notice that about a third are French. I hope you’ll find familiar favourites along with some new ones. Now all we need is a decent summer…

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  1. La Piscine (1969)

This was recently remade in English as ‘A Bigger Splash’ by Luca Guadagnino but I don’t really see how you could improve on the original. Alain Delon and Romy Schneider play Jean-Paul and Marianne, a couple whose peaceful holiday at their villa in St. Tropez is interrupted by the arrival of an old flame, Harry (Maurice Ronet) and his English daughter Penelope (Jane Birkin). At the heart of the film is the beautiful swimming pool where jealousy and betrayal between the two couples are played out and the film becomes more sensual and gripping as it moves towards its terrible finale. Quite a few people complain that it’s shallow or much too slow but I feel they miss the point. The characters are beautiful but all flawed and not quite what they seem and it’s the controlled pace that makes it so tense. It’s also incredibly sexy and stylish. This is probably my favourite summer film and one that makes me long for hot days by the pool.

 

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