8 November 2021

Robert Guédiguian and Frank Le Wita's Dernier Été (1980)

This is Robert Guédiguian's first film, co-directed with Frank Le Wita, is as so often set in the working-class area L'Estaque and Riaux to the north-west of Marseille, and at a time when the factories are closing down. Gilbert (Gérard Meylan) is the first man to be seen, emerging in overalls with a visor and a soldering iron. In his book Robert Guédiguian : cinéaste (2013), Christophe Kantcheff notes that the film came out in the same year as John Lennon died, the singer of 'Working Class Hero', and continues by saying that the film shares the same statement that Lennon closed his first post-Beatles album with: 'The dream is over.' Gilbert knows that he will not live as his parents have, and that his and his friends' future is uncertain. At first he'll have to made his living at any odd job he can find, and join in the petty crimes of his friends.

Also prominent in this film are the married (therefore compromised) van driver Mario (Jean-Pierre Moreno), Banane (Djamal Bouanane), Le Muet (Malek Hamzaoui), and Guédiguian's wife Ariane Ascaride (here playing Josiane, soon to become Gilbert's girlfriend. The atmosphere is very masculine, with violence always close to the surface, with such activities as breaking into cars and driving off with them, stealing the radios, and running out of a bar or restaurant without paying.

Gilbert and Banane get caught robbing a house and Gilbert is shot dead in the back: his last summer.

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