After braving the sun this morning I headed idoors, my flat’s not large but it’s sunny. With the windows open the sun light through the ash tree outside and breeze stirring the leaves. it’s most pleasant. While I pottered and F1 cars whizzed around the sounds of summer came in. I was about to turn the box off and listen to some tunes, when a film came on, I didn’t know what it was but the opening shots of Venice and the appearance of Kathryn Hepburn made me watch more.
The film turned out to be Summertime (1955) by David Lean.
It was fresh gem to me, it’s the classic story of a repressed American (Hepburn) brought to life by exotic foreigners. This would be a clichéd tale but for a few things firstly David Lean shoots Venice lovingly, it looks marvellous and beautiful. With long shots of churches and canals (you know Venice), close ups of statues etc. The pension Hepburn rents has one of the best views in the world!
The other thing that lifts the film is of course Kathryn Hepburn’s acting, she plays an ageing office worker on a long saved for tour of Europe. She is at once attracted by and repelled by the passion and beauty of Venice. Her awkwardness at dealing with travelling alone and yet reluctance to accept companionship and ultimately love is genuinely moving. This being the grown up 1950’s the film doesn’t settle for easy sentiment. If you’ve not seen it, search it out. Here’s a good article on it from a video club.
I know these tunes may be a bit obvious but they came up when I was looking for pictures for this post.
Ella sings Summertime
The Sundays sing summertime