A little silly to say about a movie that premiered in competition at Cannes and had the much-desired fall-festival run, but there should’ve been a little more excitement about Last Summer, which deserves much celebration for its own merits but stands all the more notable for being among the best films in the decades-long career of Catherine Breillat, who returned to feature filmmaking ten years after Abuse of Weakness. With the work now allowed to present a bit more on its own––and not as, say, the third viewing on a sleep-deprived day fueled by a Quest bar / Celsius lunch––I suspect its merits are about to really sing, ereceded by Film at Lincoln Center’s essential retrospective with the too-good-to-pass-up title “Carnal Knowledge.”

Ahead of a Janus-Sideshow release that kicks off on June 28, we have a trailer playing the brief, broad strokes. It nicely rhymes with Savina Petkova’s review out of last year’s Cannes, where she said, “Unlike the underlying cynicism of Brief Crossing––a film with a similar age gap and dynamic––Last Summer finds Breillat more open to the tenderness of love’s initial stages: Drucker lights up, she orgasms, she laughs, and even her lexicon changes. There are three sex scenes in the film, and all of them are magnificent: the camera keeps to one face at a time for a long––delightful––amount of time as features become distorted by the seismic force of orgasm. Certainly a departure from Sex is Comedy‘s brilliantly funny meta-exposé of erotic scenes, Breillat’s latest gives love a chance.”

Find the preview below:

With her first film in a decade, the fearless 75-year-old French auteur Catherine Breillat (Fat GirlThe Last Mistress) proves she’s as provocative as ever with her Cannes-stirring film, which drives down the dark road of uncontrollable passion. A remarkably nuanced, radiant Léa Drucker plays Anne, an attorney who has plateaued in her marriage to Pierre (Olivier Rabourdin), a distracted businessman. His son, troubled seventeen-year-old, Theo (Samuel Kircher), from a previous marriage, has recently returned to Pierre’s ineffectual and despondent care. When Pierre leaves town for a business trip, Anne and Théo — confined under the same roof for the first time — find themselves in the throes of an unexpected and dangerously lustful affair, threatening the stability of the household. Music by Kim Gordon heightens the erotic tension of LAST SUMMER, a film that boldly surveys power dynamics, female desire, and fulfillment.

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