How much or how little are we obliged to honour the wishes of our parents after they're gone? This is the question posed by Olivier Assayas in his rueful and wise new film, the most internationally heralded of his career to date. In Summer Hours, the divergent paths of three forty-something siblings collide after their mother (Edith Scob), heiress to her uncle's exceptional 19th century art collection, dies suddenly, leaving them to come to terms with themselves and their differences. Adrienne (Juliette Binoche) a successful New York designer, Fr+â-¬d+â-¬ric (Charles Berling) an economist and university professor in Paris, and J+â-¬r+â-¬mie (J+â-¬r+â-¬mie Renier) a dynamic businessman in China, are forced to discuss the practical details concerning the collection: preserve or sell? Display, or protect? In doing so they must confront the end of childhood, their shared memories, background and unique vision of the future. Every moment of this wonderful film is imbued with longing, joy, regret and illumination. Incisively written, superbly acted and boasting a delicately understated approach to the subject matter, Assayas' new film moves effortlessly through its narrative with all the grace of Renoir at the height of his powers.
For Every Family, There is a Season