THE BEAUTIFUL SUMMER is a gorgeous and dense coming of age/romance set a year before the world exploded into the Second World War. It’s a film that feels more like watching a novel then seeing a movie. It’s a film of the sort that we don’t get much anymore.
In 1938 Ginia has just moved to the city. She is working at a dress shop and making friends. Along the way she makes the acquaintance of a woman named Amelia. Amelia is a free spirit who opens Ginia’s eyes to all sorts of differing possibilities.
Watching THE BEAUTIFUL SUMMER I found myself getting lost in the film I drifted off from my here and now and found I was in Italy. This is film where the visual have a tactile quality to them. We not only see and hear events but we can almost feel and smell them. Cinema transcends its limitations to put us into a specific place and time.
The cast is wonderful. Yile Yara Vianello as Ginia is haunting. It’s a magnificent performance that has put her on my list of one’s to watch. Deva Cassell as Amelia is equally good.
And I don’t know what to say beyond that other than I want to see the film again, preferably on a big screen. That is a rave. I say that because twenty minutes into the film I stopped taking notes, I stopped watching the clock and I just watch events unfold before me. The film stopped being a film and just was life. I was, as I said above, in Italy in 1938. For one of the few times this year I stopped being aware I was watching a film and just was experiencing a story. This is glorious filmmaking of the sort we get from great filmmaker. That this is Laura Lucentini’s time out of the gate makes me wonder what she is going to next.