Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

1996's 'A Summer's Tale,' A Story Of Young Love And Its Pratfalls, Finally Gets Released

French people are so improbably beautiful it makes you sick: Amanda Langlet and Melvil Poupaud in Éric Rohmer's 'A Summer's Tale' (courtesy of Big World Pictures)
Support your source for local news!
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

Celebrated French New Wave veteran Éric Rohmer's late career in the 1990s was mostly comprised of his highly-regarded Tales Of The Four Seasons, a quartet of romantic comedies each set within its own part of the year. Somehow, 1996's A Summer's Tale never saw distribution in the United States at the time, but thanks to a sparkling new digital restoration from Big World Pictures (who also brought us the underappreciated In Bloom earlier this year), it hits the big screen across the Atlantic.

Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud) is a freshly graduated engineering student who comes to the Brittany coast for a summer getaway before his new career. Waiting for a flaky female companion who may or may not be his girlfriend (he doesn't seem to be entirely sure), he spends his first two days alone, wandering the quaint seaside village on his own and writing music at night. After two days of isolation he befriends Margot (Rohmer veteran Amanda Langlet), a beautiful student making money on holiday as a waitress at the local crêperie. Sparks fly and the sexual tension between the two is taut, but their chemistry is primarily at an intellectual level and blockaded by Gaspard's hope that Lena (Aurelia Nolin) eventually does show up.

Gaspard's idyllic summer gets monkey-wrenched when the free-spirited Solene (Gwenaëlle Simon) becomes a part of the picture and the late arrival of Lena, an ice queen whose will he is unable to decipher. A Summer's Tale is a breezy comedy of naive romanticism and petty jealousies, a portrait of freer and youthful days fraught by the uncertainty of years ahead. A young man caught up between three women (Summer was the only one of his Four Seasons films to be centered on a male protagonist), Gaspard ultimately makes a decision that is at the same both heartbreaking and the most ideally romantic for himself. With Rohmer's passing four years ago at the age of 89, the return of A Summer's Tale is a lovely posthumous farewell from a master of romantic follies.

Support for LAist comes from

A Summer's Tale opens Friday at Laemmle's Royal (West L.A.), Playhouse 7 (Pasadena), and Town Center 5 (Encino).

Most Read