In Summer of 85 (Été 85), written and directed by acclaimed French filmmaker François Ozon, two teenage boys fall for each other and embark upon a passionate summer fling beside the sea, until terrible tragedy strikes. Summer of 85 is in cinemas and available to stream on Curzon Home Cinema.

To help transport audiences visually back in time to the mid-1980s, Ozon and his cinematographer, Hichame Alaouié SBC, opted to shoot the production on Kodak 16mm filmstocks, imbuing the visuals with what critics have hailed as a luscious and saturated evocation of both the period and the teenager’s heightened emotions.

The film, whose soundtrack includes many foot-tapping pop classics from the era, was originally set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2020. However, due to the cancellation of that event due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it debuted in France on 14 July 2020, before screening at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival and having a wider release across Europe and the US.

The multi award-winning Ozon is regarded as one of the most important film directors in the new “New Wave” in French cinema, especially those associated with ‘Cinema of the body/Cinema du corps’. His films are typically characterised by sharp satirical wit and questions about human sexuality. He achieved international standing for his early films, such as the dark comedy musical 8 Femmes (2002, DP Jeanne Lapoirie) and the erotic thriller Swimming Pool (2003 DP Yorick Le Saux AFC).

Ozon’s latest film, Summer of 85 is based on the British 1982 young adult novel “Dance on My Grave” by Aidan Chambers. The director’s adaptation transposes the story to Northern France with the action focusing on Alex (Félix Lefebvre), a death-obsessed 16-year-old in need of a buddy during the long hot summer vacation. While out boating, Alex accidentally capsizes his dingy, and is rescued by the self-assured and slightly older David (Benjamin Voisin). The two become friends and their bromance quickly blossoms into a passionate affair, as they scoot around on motorbike and sailing adventures.

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