La Belle Saison (Summertime)

Love between two women is a swaying hammock in Catherine Corsini’s tale of complicated romance in the wake of 70s feminism. Carole (Cécile de France) is the sunshine with whom Delphine (Izïa Higelin, a popular singer in France) understandably falls in love when she leaves her parent’s Limousin farm to pursue a life in Paris.

cecile de france - belle saison

Carole (Cécile de France)

The two meet in Carole’s feminist-group street-prank: running down a boulevard and pinching men’s bottoms. Carole is feisty and charismatic, and emboldened by her new friends and experiences, Delphine makes a pass at her. The two tumble into infatuation.

When Delphines’s father becomes ill and is unable to work she returns to the farm to help her mother. It isn’t long before lovesick Carole heads south too, and moves into the farmhouse as ‘her friend.’ The two spend a lot of time naked, farming together and trying to hide their relationship from the villagers.

Although Corsini digs deep and shows how duty and desire conflict, La Belle Saison is a light breeze, resisting at all times political polemic or a social history lesson about women’s rights.

Higelin’s performance is mellow and reflective, a cool pool that contrasts with de France’s impish energy. De France is resplendent with all the beauty and spin of a catherine-wheel. She’s giddy with love and intellectual passion, given to dancing and tactlessness.

Carole and Delphine are both heroines: brave, flawed and as radiant (and brief) as Summer.

Director: Catherine Corsini (2015)

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