It’s a well spoken about fact that Hollywood is rubbish with queer female representation, which is why we’ve recently been looking at the movie scene in mainland Europe to help fill the void.
In addition to Breathe, Mélanie Laurent’s film about two women in a relationship turned twisted, there’s also Dual, about two women who fall in love despite a language barrier and of course, there’s the film that made waves just two short years ago, Blue Is The Warmest Colour.
It’s that last movie that new French film Summertime (La Belle Saison) is being compared to, not just for the obvious language similarity, but because of how beautifully it’s shot.
Set in the 1970s, Summertime stars a young woman named Delphine (played by Izïa Higelin) who leaves her parents’ farm in the South of France to go and live in the big city.
It’s in Paris where she meets Carole (played by Cécile de France), who is part of the local feminist group. Carole also has a boyfriend, but that doesn’t stop Delphine from falling for her, hard, and it certainly doesn’t stop Carole from falling for Delphine right back.
The dramatic side of things occurs when Delphine’s father gets sick and she has to move back to the farm to be with him.
Then, there’s double the drama when Delphine’s mother encourages her to marry their male neighbour, Antoine. That leaves Delphine with a choice; bow to her mother’s wishes and leave the woman she loves, or stay with her and risk disappointing her mother?
Despite this conflict, there are plenty of moments where we see Delphine and Carole happy and in love.
Those who were lucky enough to see Summertime when it was shown at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) have called the relationship both beautiful and sexy. The Mary Sue‘s film reviewer even calls it “one of the sexiest movies [they’ve] ever seen”.
Unlike Blue Is The Warmest Colour‘s infamous love scene, which was terribly bad to the point where it was offensive, Summertime’s love scenes are well-staged and look as though the two women are madly in love, rather than being made to cater to the male gaze.
Much of that is probably down to the director, Catherine Corsini, who is gay and made the film with her partner, and thankfully, Summertime is all the better for it.