VenueWalter Reade Theater
U.S. Premiere. Q&A with actress Fumi Nikaido.
A light comedy of manners played out during 10 days in a seaside town, Au revoir l’été is a nicely played rondo of human behavior that’s amazingly mature for a writer-director who’s still in his early thirties. With its teenage central character Sakuko (a strikingly assured Fumi Nikaido), who philosophically observes the small hypocrisies and lies by the adults around her, as well as goes through a small learning experience of her own, Au revoir l’été echoes Eric Rohmer’s films, especially Pauline at the Beach (1983). And when Sakuko’s 10 days of “summer holiday” suddenly ends, so too does the movie. No one has changed, life goes on, eternal truths remain out of reach. But director Fukada doesn’t look like he’s just aping an established genre. From its acceptance of various social norms to the way in which the protagonists interact (or, more often, avoid confrontation), the film is authentically Japanese, and is the better for it.