›› One Day in Summer - Un Jour d'été - aka A Summer Day
an emotional work of homosexual longing
Sébastien and Mickaël are the best of friends, seemingly joined at the hip over their love of the beautiful game and their love of life. Only when a freak accident on the playing field robs Mickaël of his, Sébastien is left to come to terms with the loss of a close friend and the void that his death brings to his world, one of raging hormones and confused sexuality.
Shot and edited with considerable skill, this marks a highly impressive work from co-writer and director Franck Guérin. Only for all that is going for it, from sweeping views of the beautiful sun-baked French countryside to the committed performances from the cast and inparticular its lead players, namely boys of beauty who excel in the smouldering looks department, the end result is gay, only not as we know it. For here close encounters of the homosexual kind are replaced by longing glances, as this feature notably downplays overt homosexuality to focus instead on unfulfilled gay desires and if anything, the grieving process itself.
That Mickaël's mother and Sébastien help each other through their emotional loss is a wonderful and quite touching aspect of the storyline, as Sébastien finds in her a mother figure missing from his own life and in turn the mother, a love that was missing from her relationship with her son. Yet the anger that the townsfolk feel over the sudden death of one of their own, vented as it is in the direction of Maurice, the local Mayor who finds his feelings of compassion for the family at odds with his need to avoid official accountability, is further complicated by the Mayor's son Francis making eyes in Sébastien's direction.
Or is he? For the trouble with this work is that it never allows a relationship to develop, with their friendship being forever chained at ground level, inspite of looks that suggest that it is desperate to break free with gay abandon. Then again, Sébastien's relationship with Mickaël is something of a mystery, for whilst inseparable
friends, their deep fondness for each other prompts questions that are never fully answered.
So to keep you entertained, Guérin throws in shower scene camaraderie, male nudity and loads of beckoning eye movements. Only are such elements, let alone the narrative, enough to keep the boys happy? For some undoubtedly, given this is a well-executed film, one laced with feelings of guilt and remorse, hints of corruption and a strong sense of
character development, as the adolescent of the piece comes to develop into a man. Yet for those seeking a more intimate degree of gay visualisation, this feature may well fail to please, given the homosexual content on offer is not only understated, but frankly open to interpretation. Then again, so too are many other aspects of this rewarding and yet equally frustrating work.
screened as part of the 21st London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2007