Although the annual Cannes Film Festival has been cancelled, François Ozon’s Summer of 85 is still due for release in cinemas later this summer and definitely should not be missed. Ozon has a wealth of well-loved previous films, including Frantz, 8 Women, Double Lover and By the Grace of God, with the latter winning the Jury Grand Prix at Berlin International Film Festival last year. From the two trailers, a teaser trailer and an official trailer, the movie is presented as a coming-of-age queer love story with all the twists and turns that come with it.
The teaser trailer shows Alexis listening to “In Between Days” by The Cure, blasting the well-known tune through his headphones whilst reminiscing over the summer. The song itself feels very apt considering the film’s existential, coming-of-age themes. As he listens to the song, we see a montage of his summer with no dialogue. The trailer suggests a complicated romance between him and David; I am hardcore rooting for it to work out.
Music is clearly an important theme that will run through the film, weaving the plot points together and transporting us back to 1985. The film is set to “boast a sexy score with songs by The Cure, Rod Stewart, RAF, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and Bananarama.”
The official trailer gives more insight into the plot, revealing the growing romance between the two main characters. At the beginning, there is a darker clip with the line “Explain what you did – the judge needs to understand,” suggesting that there is trouble in the waters of Normandy, enticing us into the plot. We get a wider look at the film’s stunning cast, which includes Félix Lefebvre, Benjamin Voisin, Philippine Velge, Melvil Poupaud and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.
Much like the lyrics to the song by The Cure, the happy tune contrasts the tensions and divisions between the characters. Towards the end of the clip, there is a twist with the introduction of a new love interest, a young girl. There seems to be confusion and teenage angst, as well as the intricacies of family dynamics. Alexis is heard saying “At that moment I would have done anything for him. I wanted us together always. But when I was with him it wasn’t enough,” suggesting that he holds unrequited feelings, while the line “It’s me you want. And that’s impossible,” suggests the difficulty of familial and societal expectations the characters are navigating. We are in for an emotional rollercoaster, folks.
Overall, there is an in-depth discussion of what it means to be a human with the line, “Why waste time? We’re all mortals.” As well as adventures and fun in sunny Normandy, there is a sense of temporality and the need to make the most of our lives.
Although the film will undoubtedly be compared to Call Me By Your Name, I am also excited to see this film on its own merit. The representation of queer love is opened up by the movie’s multi-faceted, complex characters which are adapted from Aidan Chamber’s novel Dance on My Grave. The combination of the amazing soundtrack, beautiful Normandy scenery, 80’s vibe and exploration of interesting and important themes will make for a stand out film
Words by Elle Woods-Marshall