An unbuttoned shirt, boat moccasins, linen pants, sandals, silk dresses with floral patterns. In other words, summer. A summer as light as the country air, fresh as the salt water of the sea, like peaches and watermelon. A summer to be fully enjoyed because it doesn’t last long, because the days are long and because being young only happens once in a lifetime. There is no one handbook to enjoy the most beautiful season of all, indeed it can be said that there are different ways – and different places and different outfits – to best interpret it. But this short list of five films can give the right inspiration to live the summer dream.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona – Woody Allen, 2008
Barcelona, Costa Brava, Oviedo. The summer spent eating jamón serrano and to drink sangria while an artistic and libertine love is consumed during the evening. Vicky and Cristina are two American tourists who are in Barcelona for the summer holidays. In the warm Catalan capital they meet Juan Antonio, a painter and artist and a true Latin lover, who offers them a holiday in his house in Oviedo, north of Spain. Woody Allen brings together a stellar cast – Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson, Penélope Cruz, Rebecca Hall – to tell a holiday that has the flavor of sex, light-heartedness, freshness.
It was the hand of God – Paolo Sorrentino, 2021
One scene would be enough: a boat in the middle of the sea, a reunited family diving into the very blue waters of the Mediterranean and naked bodies tanning in the sun. But to elect It was the hand of God he manifesto of the Italian summer – as well as a masterpiece of world cinema – are all the scenes. Naples is represented in the height of its season, in its city heat and its sea breeze from the gulf. Not to mention the house where Fabietto Schisa’s family spend their holidays: overlooking the sea, fig trees, fresh buffalo mozzarella and tables where you can spend long lunches in the shade of a pergola. The smell of basil, pasta with tomato sauce and saltiness can be felt in almost all the scenes of a film that Paolo Sorrentino wanted to direct towards autobiography, maintaining his unmistakable style and imprinting all the images of the summer in photography Italian of his childhood. Even the legendary passage of Maradona to Naples.
Overtaking – Dino Risi, 1962
If a film is set on August 15, it can only be a hymn to summer. And if the film in question is from the 1960s, from that Italy which was reborn thanks to the economic boom and which has imprinted in the eyes of the whole world the image of a country that has the sea, the holidays, the sun in its DNA and good food – in other words the so-called Mediterranean way of life – and has as its title Overtaking, there is little to add. An epochal film, story by Ettore Scola and Dino Risi, with Vittorio Gassman and Jean-Louis Trintignan in the role of two boys who embark on a journey along the Via Aurelia aboard a Lancia Aurelia B24. Above all, one scene manages to convey the summer sensations of those years: Vittorio Gassman and Catherine Spaak lying in the sun on a boat talking about life.
August holidays – Paolo Virzì, 1996
Another Italian film, another film set in August in the middle of the Italian summer. And perhaps there is a reason and it was captured perfectly by Paolo Virzì who wanted to set his film on the island of Ventotene and describing the holidays of two groups of neighbors friends. An Italian comedy that investigates the socio-political situation of the nineties, analyzing the couple crisis in the most carefree – and dangerous for feelings – period of the year.
Mektoub, My Love: canto one – Abdellatif Kechiche, 2017
Memories, nostalgic and melancholic, are another basic ingredient of summer. Just on the dynamics ofamarcord the film by Abdellatif Kechiche was founded, which recounts the summer of a group of French-Tunisians that took place in the 1990s. Amin is a boy who, despite his physical appearance – handsome, young, pleasant – prefers the confidentiality of poetry and writing. He abandoned his studies in Paris to move to Sète, in the south of France near Montpellier with his cousin Tony, viveur par excellence, which will lead him to fully experience the summer between bars, restaurants, the sea and small trips in the surrounding area sweetened by the company of two girls from Nice in search of adventures.
BONUS TRACK: The Pool – Jacques Deray, 1969
Alain Delon, Jane Birkin, Romy Schneider, a swimming pool and the Côte d’Azur. This image would be enough to make you want to spend the summer holidays recreating the setting of The pools and emulating the life and clothing of the actor-characters. Monochromatic bikinis, pastel shirts, sunglasses, designer poolside decor. It would seem like the perfect cocktail to spend the summer were it not for a growing tension that will plunge the situation into a black hole of jealousy and crime.