When Alexis (Félix Lefebvre) capsizes off the coast of Normandy, David (Benjamin Voisin) comes to the rescue and soon opens the younger boy’s eyes to a new horizon of friendship, art and sexual bliss. David’s worldly demeanor and Jewish heritage deliver a jolt to Alexis’s traditional, working class upbringing. After Alexis begins working at the seaside shop owned by David’s mother (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), the two lovers steal every possible moment for a fugitive kiss, a motorcycle ride or a trip to the cinema. Their relationship is soon rocked by a host of challenges, including an unexpected sexual rival (Philippine Velge) and a romantic oath that transcends life itself.
Summer Of 85 comes to Blu-Ray in a 1080p presentation that is truly stunning. This is a visually rich film with beautiful shots of nature and the city throughout where you can see an incredible amount of detail. The transfer maintains the natural film grain of the Super 16 source format quite handsomely. The film is bursting with vivid colors in nearly every frame with numerous moments that really pop off the screen from the lush nature to some of the neon at the carnival. The interiors are typically a more reserved environment that presents with more moderate tones that the presentation represents perfectly with a pleasing richness. The white levels are handled beautifully, along with the intensely deep blacks that do not appear to suffer from any compression artifacts. The skin tones look very detailed and natural all around. This presentation is definitely a knockout on the Blu-Ray format.
The Blu-Ray disc comes with both a DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Master Audio track in the original French that conjures a very specific mood that transports you to this time period. The film uses music in really fun, powerful ways that fill the room, especially in some of the more bass-heavy tunes. The dialogue comes through crystal clear without ever being overpowered by the sound effects or the score. The sound design is just as precisely thought-out as the on screen visuals with all of the sounds positioned just right in the mix. The environmental effects create a really nice soundscape of nature and the din of the certain crowds. This is not an action-heavy film, but activity in the low end is strong thanks to the music. This is a lovely sounding release that brings the movie to life in a really beautiful way.
- Q&A with François Ozon, Félix Lefebvre and Benjamin Voisin: A 23-minute conversation moderated by Maddie Whittle from Film At Lincoln Center in which Ozon discusses his relationship with the source material, his idea that an American filmmakers would adapt the material, the difference between our feeling of nostalgia and being a “nostalgic” film, establishing the setting of the film, how the actors got involved with the film and settled into the characters, the place of music in the film and more.
- Interview with François Ozon and The Actors: An eleven-minute interview in which Ozon and the actors discusses wanting to make a lighter film after his previous taxing effort, the themes of the film, the period in which the film is set, the structure of the film, what it was like working on the film with one another, the relationship between the leads and more.
- Deleted Scenes: Nine minutes of unused material is included here featuring Alexis trying to avoid having his mom finding out about his accident, the helping of a drunk gentleman, Alexis recovering after a night of partying, additional scenes with Kate and more moments that are worth exploring.
- Outtakes: Nearly 15 minutes of flubbed lines, ruined takes, uncooperative sail boats, alternate line reads and more.
- 35mm and 16mm Film Tests: Two minutes of material comparing the looks of the two different camera formats.
- Light and Costume Tests: Four minutes of footage showing off different costume and lighting choices for the film.
- Dance Choreography: Three minutes of Félix Lefebvre practicing his moves for the “Sailing” sequence.
- Fight Rehearsal: A minute-long look at the performers preparing for their fight scene.
- Poster Gallery: A two-minute look at the different posters that were created for the film.
- Theatrical Trailer: A nearly two-minute trailer for the film is provided here.
- A Summer Dress – Short Film By François Ozon: A 16-minute short film from 1996 which depicts a complicated gay relationship and the surprising developments that happen when a young man meets a Spanish tourist. This is pretty entertaining and a nice companion to the film.
Summer Of 85 is equal parts beautiful, joyful and heartbreaking. The film is the type of love story that we do not get often enough, and it brought to life perfectly through both the two lead performances along with the equally strong ensemble. The film falters somewhat in some of its narrative choices and would likely benefit from a bit of editing, but overall it is an experience that you cherish. Music Box Films Home Entertainment has given this lovely film a Blu-Ray release featuring a top-notch A/V presentation and a surprising amount of special features. Fans of the great François Ozon or just compelling love stories in general should find quite a bit to like here. Recommended
Summer Of 85 will be available to purchase on Blu-Ray and DVD on August 31, 2021. The film is currently available on Digital.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Music Box Films Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
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Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.