Movie Diary 4/12/2021

More from this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, happening now.

Summer of 85 (Francois Ozon, 2020). It has the form of a remembered summer romance, but you would expect Ozon to run variations on this, and he does. (At the same time, Ozon isn’t so interested in deconstructing the form that he can’t take time to linger over the nude bodies of his lead actors during their summer idyll.) Those variations are intriguing, and they have less to do with doomed romance and a death-obsessed hero than with what makes a writer come into existence. It’s based on a novel, and I wonder whether the book had the film’s more cinematic moments in it; a scene in which the protagonist listens to Rod Stewart’s lugubrious “Sailing” on headphones while the rest of a nightclub is bopping to something faster, for instance.

Slalom (Charlene Favier, 2020). The issue of sexual abuse in sports is dealt with sincerely and straightforwardly in this story of a rising skier (Noee Abita) preyed upon by her charismatic coach (Jeremie Renier). Well acted and psychologically credible, with a few striking images (the sight of coach and student sitting in a ski lift at night, looking at a wolf in the snow below) and a strong sense of something awful playing out in an incongruously gorgeous landscape.