The kind of peacefully contemplative arthouse item that’s become more the exception than the rule, “Anna’s Summer” stars Angela Molina as a 50-year-old photojournalist who welcomes the friendly spirits of her Sephardic-Jewish ancestors to the family home she’s inherited on a spectacular Greek island. Pic may be limited in contempo theatrical world by that very same trait but will resonate on the fest circuit, be welcomed by distribs who know their upscale auds and embraced in ancillary.
“Go away, ghosts,” says Anna Kastelano (Molina) as she throws open her bedroom shutters to the sparkling Aegean Sea. But the spirits aren’t so easily dismissed. Her recently deceased companion of some 30 years, Max (Herbert Knaup), still spends a lot of time with her, as does her father Leon — who, it turns out, had a young lover named Anna.
She even learns a bit of the mysterious circumstances surrounding her grandmother’s murder at Auschwitz. In between these daydreams and her spells of regional cooking, she finds time to develop a tentative relationship with laborer Nikola (Agis Emmanouil), who yearns to leave the island for the lures of the city.
As Anna wrestles with the decision to sell the grand house, the past and present intertwine with benevolent fluidity. Writer-director Jeanine Meerapfel exhibits a sure hand with the delicate business of bringing long-departed ancestors back to life, stripping the process of all gimmickry and sensationalism while gently subverting tenets of woman’s melodrama. Molina becomes more beautiful as time and pic progress.
Tech credits are clean and lovely, with camera of d.p. Andreas Sinanos (who shot Theo Angelopoulos’ Cannes-winning “Eternity and a Day”) caressing the region’s rugged, sun-drenched beauty.