Tuesday, June 16, 2009


In French with English subtitles
Original title: L'heure d'été

Camille Corot (July 1796 – February 1875) was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century. He was the first to promote the idea that artists should “submit to the first impression" of what they saw. This was the beginning of the Impressionist school that included among others Cézanne, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas, Monet and Manet.

Edith Scob: 75-year-old Hélène, the family matriarch
Charles Berling: her oldest son Frédéric, a university economics professor
Dominique Reymond: his wife Lisa
Juliette Binoche: Frédéric’s younger sister Adrienne, a designer working in New York City
Jérémie Renier: Frédéric’s younger brother Jérémie, an executive working in China
Valérie Bonneton: his wife Angela
Isabelle Sadoyan: Hélène’s long-time housekeeper Éloïse

A thoughtful drama without any of the usual histrionics so prevalent in movies of this type so it rings true. Ostensibly about the disposition of their mother’s estate it brings to mind the change in values of objects over the years, from one generation to the next.

The acting is uniformly very good and despite the plethora of words, the editing moves things along at a fair clip. Which is a good thing because truth be told, not a lot happens during the one hour forty-five minutes running time.


Adrienne carefully removes everything from the silver plate on the table, putting the bunch of grapes to her left. After examining the plate she then puts everything back in place but the grapes have moved without being touched and she picks them up from the right hand side of the table.

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