But this is not true.
As far as I am concerned, the only depressing movies are the bad ones.
Movies poorly written, made without love, without care, and that consider the audience a bunch of brainless people. That’s what really depresses me.
If a film-maker decides to talk about the heaviest subject of all, death, I am fine with it.
Especially if the result is so good that in the end not only you don’t feel sad, but you actually feel happy and full of hope: this is the case with the wonderful Ce Sentiment de l’été (This Summer Feeling) by Mikhaël Hers.
It is a beautiful summer day in Berlin: Sasha, 30 years old, is going back home after a working day, but in the middle of a park, she suddenly collapses and she dies in hospital few hours later. Her parents and her younger sister Zoé, who live in France, immediately arrive in Berlin. Their grief is the same of Lawrence, the guy Sasha was sharing her life with.
In the space of three different summers and in different cities (Berlin, Paris, Annecy and New York), the film follows the attempts of Lawrence and Zoé to deal with this loss, to find a way of surviving and to go back to happiness and life.
|Lawrence (Anders Danielsen Lie)|
|Zoé (Judith Chemla)|
What a simple and compelling idea to use it as the background as well as (almost) a character to narrate this story. Exploring grief could be very tricky: it is difficult to show despair in a natural, profound and realistic way on screen, but Mikhaël Hers has managed to magically do it.
It is a question of light, the light of the summer sun in the apartments, in the streets, reflected on buildings, at first in deep contrast with the sadness of death, and then, bit by bit, illuminating the slow process towards the healing from the pain. But it is also a lightness of tone, there is never a heavy moment in this movie: even when people are desperate, or are asking themselves how to keep going, there is always a hint of hope, a tenacious attachment to life.
Lawrence and Zoé are portrayed in common situations: at work, at a party, at home, in the streets. Dialogues are simple, almost essential, and the connection to these characters is immediate and complete.
A good cast is what you need to express this high level of emotional subtlety and complexity and the film has it: the rohmerienne Marie Rivière as the mother (always a pleasure to see her!), Féodor Atkine as the father, Judith Chemla, with her physique à la Charlotte Gainsbourg, as Zoé and the intense Norwegian actor (as well as doctor!) Anders Danielsen Lie, known to the French audience for his roles in Joachim Trier movies (Reprise and Oslo, 31st August), as Lawrence.
They’re all great and so convincing!
So, make me a favour, dear readers: if you have to go to the movies in the next days, don't go to see a romantic comedy or a thriller, go to see this little gem about death.
Sometimes, you can find happiness in places you really don't expect it.