SUMMER HOURS (Olivier Assayas, 2008)
My favorite film of 2008 and probably among my favorite films of all-time, Summer Hours has FINALLY been theatrically released in the United States. The release is limited but if you get a chance to see this film I highly recommend doing so...
Here is what I wrote about the film after first seeing it last year (I have seen it three times since, including at the Philadelphia Film Festival in April):
Fresh off the globalized B-movie genre film Boarding Gate, 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' right to the lovely final shot. 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. 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!!