Films & Schedules

  • L' Heure d'été
    Summer Hours

  • Olivier Assayas

102 minutes

Production Company:
MK2 Productions/France 3 Cinéma
Marin Karmitz, Nathanaël Karmitz, Charles Gillibert
Clémentine Schaeffer
Production Designer:
Sylvie Barthet
Eric Gautier
Luc Barnier
Nicolas Cantin, Olivier Goinard
Principal Cast: Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jérémie Renier, Edith Scob

Canadian Distributor:
Seville Pictures
US Distributor:
IFC Films
International Sales Agent:
MK2 International

TIFF Tags: Family 

Monday September 0804:15PM WINTER GARDEN THEATRE Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Wednesday September 1009:15AM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Olivier Assayas's new film is not a radical departure from his previous work, but the differences are nonetheless striking. It has a mature look and feel, made by an artist completely at ease with the medium. Without striving for effect, Assayas is happy to let the material speak for itself. And what a magnificent achievement it is. L'Heure d'été deals with ideas of tradition and family heritage, using a house and a garden as a metaphor for cultural memory.

Incisively written, superbly acted by some of France's finest performers and boasting a delicately understated approach to the subject matter, Assayas's new film moves effortlessly through its narrative with all the grace of Renoir at the height of his powers.

Hélène (Edith Scob) lives in a rambling mansion full of art: Corot landscapes, Redon panels, a variety of rare and valuable objects, and her own uncle's paintings. On her seventy-fifth birthday, her three grown children arrive to celebrate the happy milestone. Frédéric (Charles Berling) is an economist. The younger son, Jérémie (Jérémie Renier, also in this year's Le Silence de Lorna), has relocated to Shanghai with his family, where he manufactures running shoes. And finally, there is the dark and brooding Adrienne (Juliette Binoche), a successful designer who now lives in New York.

Assayas assembles this group and then delicately begins to explore them as individuals. Events force Hélène's children to make a series of decisions that have everything to do with their shared sense of the past. What to do with all of these memories and objects that define them and in a sense create their identity? Can this all be discarded? What at first appears to be a simple decision that they make together turns into something much thornier. As unexpected emotions surface among the siblings, they discover that they have changed, and now aspire to different things. How these tensions are resolved is the subject of this intimate drama. L'Heure d'été is a work of great lyrical power, and Assayas shows an extraordinary control of place and character, bringing the two into a beautiful harmony.

Piers Handling

Olivier Assayas was born in Paris, where he received his Master's degree from l'École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. His filmography includes Désordre (86), L'Enfant de l'hiver (89), Paris s'éveille (91), Une Nouvelle Vie (93), HHH: Portrait de Hou Hsiao-Hsien (97), Fin août, début septembre (98), Les Destinées sentimentales (00), Demonlover (02), Clean (04), the short film Quartier des enfants rouges, which was part of the omnibus film Paris, je t'aime (06), Boarding Gate (07) and L'Heure d'été (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award