A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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SUMMER HOURS
2008 - Olivier Assayas - France
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Perfection! Fresh off the globalized B-movie genre film Boarding Gate (an extraordinary achievement of its own), Olivier Assayas would seem a strange fit for this simplistic three generations family ensemble. Yet Summer Hours is very much the definitive Assayas film and it may very well be his greatest masterwork. In many ways it might be his greatest film because it seems to be a reflection on all of his films and it is made with the touch of a seasoned master with its skillfully simplistic touch, channeling the minimalist style of his influences (notably Hou Hsiao-Hsien, whom Assayas made a documentary about in 1997). Like Hou, Summer Hours finds an eternal truth through its simplicity, but the beauty is that the film is undoubtedly Assayas' from the opening frame right through to its counter in lovely final shot (itself structured like a cinematic painting) which leaves a sense of great understanding and hope even in the saddest and most reflective of moments. Surprisingly recalling some of his previous film, Assayas here presents us with the global family as a reflection of a passing time. Summer Hours is a film about life and death, memories and heritage. The film understands not only the family dynamics but humanity as a whole, particularly through family generations. There is a truth and hope to the film in the way it presents humanity. I can't say I saw a film more perfect then this in 2008 and I would rate Summer Hours among the greatest French films in years or really among the greatest films I have ever seen!!
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