AND THEY CALL IT SUMMER (AKA E la chiamano estate) | REVIEW

AND THEY CALL IT SUMMER aka E la chiamano estate is a 2012 Italian film revolving around sexual addiction and intimacy issues that released last October from Accent Films on DVD in Australia. For some reason I only recently found the review disc and forwarded it on to Kernel Jordan who, in no way, suffers sexual addiction and intimacy issues, I just thought this would be an odd one for him to review 🙂 This soft porn for old people, with an Italian arty direction, can be obtained from all DVD outlets or online, it is rated R and runs for 90mins. Enjoy Jordan’s review……all the best……JK.


and they call it summer movie poster image



By the end of this film, I felt as confused as I did after the first thirty minutes. A second viewing revealed more, as it is certainly one of those movies that is hesitant to show its cards. However, watching it a second time did nothing to raise my thoughts of the film; if anything, it confirmed what I took from the first viewing. This is a romantic/sexual drama that meanders along rather aimlessly and soullessly for ninety minutes or so. It comes as no surprise to me then that this film was almost universally disliked by critics and general viewers alike. Despite this, it somehow won awards at the Rome International Film Festival for best director and best actress – the latter being a very odd win, but more on that below.

The basic premise of the film is somewhat interesting and is certainly a thought-provoking notion. We have anaesthesiologist Dino, played by Jean-Marc Barr, who is incapable of making love to the woman he deeply cares for, Anna (Isabella Ferrari). They are partners, they share a bed, but Dino’s complex renders it impossible for the two to be intimate. This is shown in one of the opening scenes where Anna’s hand moves slowly up Dino’s legs towards his crotch, but upon arriving at home base Dino quickly dismisses her advance and moves her hand away from him, as if annoyed by the advance.

It would seem then that his profession in this world is no accident, as the way he avoids intimacy with his partner is as if he is under a strange, altered effect of his own medicine; unable to truly connect with the one woman he loves. He cares for her so much in fact that we see him have a very awkward conversation with a man who seems to be a stranger, but is actually a former flame of Anna.


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Why does Dino seek out an ex-partner of Anna’s? The answer is obviously confronting, as the man takes issue with Dino asking him quite frankly to have sex with Anna on his behalf. This is what Dino is reduced to; he obviously loves Anna more than life itself, yet his self-loathing, masochistic nature seems to render him incapable of doing the deed himself. To relieve himself, Dino readily spends night after night with an array of prostitutes, swingers and scantily clad folk at various orgies. I can be certain of one thing – I’ve seen enough bare man-arses for three lifetimes. Oddly enough though, Anna seems to know about these occurrences but accepts them as a part of the relationship.

So far, so good, right? An interesting premise, and certainly an interesting opening 20 minutes. However, there is a big problem with the scenes that involve Dino indulging in what he supposedly cannot achieve with his wife. They are all decidedly one note and become repetitive quickly. None of the women who he meets and readily has sex with have any sort of personality at all. They aren’t unlikeable characters, as there is nothing to like or dislike about them. They are cardboard cut-outs, simply there to serve a purpose for the film. Attempts to inject personality into the female characters are consistent failures, and the same applies for other male characters; they are all essentially the same people frolicking with the same crowd.


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One could argue that this is all intentional, that the director is trying to convey a message; when someone is probing these seedy places (and people), that person never truly gets to know anyone and is locked into an endlessly repetitive experience. This drawn out and admittedly convoluted explanation could float if it weren’t for the way Anna is portrayed. Not too dissimilar from the rest of the people Dino meets, Anna’s personality is barely a flicker within a fireplace. Isabella Ferrari tries with the material she is given, and certainly doesn’t turn in a bad performance. But she has almost nothing to work with, save for a few throwaway scenes in which she seems to be talking to a psychiatrist. Her character is paper thin, making me wonder why Dino is so infatuated with her in the first place.

So the story is not the problem here, as it could have been a complex tale of love so strong that it is ruining a couples’ life. The problem is the execution of this idea and the entire film in general, whether it be the needlessly graphic shots of sex – often shown on the screen of a cell phone or in extreme close-ups – or more pertinently, the almost total lack of personality traits to speak of for either of the main characters, excluding Dino’s problem that drives the narrative. Furthermore, by the film’s conclusion, nothing seems to have been resolved!

Paolo Franchi is not a director that I am familiar with so I don’t have any of his work to compare this to, but I’ll be honest: this flick doesn’t exactly have me waiting to rifle through his filmography. For an erotic film that revolves around a similar premise, I’d strong recommend Matthiu Amalric’s THE BLUE ROOM, as it leaves this film in its dust in every area conceivable.


2 Pops