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Summer of 85

Été 85

French writer/director François Ozon’s output is not only prolific, but covers an impressively wide spectrum of styles and approaches. From musical whodunnit to workplace comedy to noirish psychodrama, Ozon is more than happy to address a number of themes of interest through settings and characters that might seem to bear very little relation to each other. His most recent feature – By The Grace Of God back in 2018 – was a hard-hitting, almost documentarian look at sexual abuse in the Catholic church. Now he switches style and tone once again with Summer of 85, a seemingly sunny, carefree coming of age drama set in Normandy in the mid-80s.

“Starting with a perfectly captured mood of summer… then injecting it with something much darker”

Loosely based on the book ‘Dance On My Grave’ by Aidan Chambers, the film tells of the blossoming, but ultimately short-lived, summertime relationship between Alexis and David, both resident in a French seaside town and both looking for some colour in an otherwise drab existence. When a boating accident suddenly throws them together, Alexis is driven to document his version of the events that fell into place after that first encounter. But after a shocking initial revelation, and the ensuing drama, how much of his account is actually to be believed?

Starting with a perfectly captured mood of summer at the seaside, and then injecting it with something much darker, Summer of 85 captures those swirling moods of adolescence where one emotion crashes into another and sets a very different response in motion. With one character obsessed with death, and the other very determined to live life to the full, which of them will come closest to achieving their goal? 

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