Passing Summer

The original German title of "Passing Summer" translates as "My Slow Life," and they don't come much slower than this latest study of emotional ennui by writer-director Angela Schanelec. Film is a series of encounters between a group of Berlin friends, relations and acquaintances during one summer.

With:
With: Ursina Lardi, Andreas Patton, Anne Tismer, Wolfgang Michael, Sophie Aigner, Clara Enge, Nina Weniger, Devid Striesow, Angela Schanelec, Rudiger Vogler.

The original German title of “Passing Summer” translates as “My Slow Life,” and they don’t come much slower than this latest study of emotional ennui by writer-director Angela Schanelec, a Berlin Forum favorite whose equally listless “Places in Cities” somehow managed to make Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 1998. Though pic will have its small band of admirers on the fest circuit, buyers look likely to take a pass.

Film is a series of encounters between a group of Berlin friends, relations and acquaintances during one summer. Its putative main character is Valerie (Ursina Lardi), a writer. First seen in a long talk with her friend, Sophie (Nina Weniger), Valerie soon takes up with a divorced photographer, Thomas (Andreas Patton).

Film is attractively lensed but, like its long takes, infuriatingly static in all other respects, for no productive reason. Relationships between characters, and their backgrounds, are rarely explained, and even a sequence when Valerie visits her dying father is robbed of any emotion.

In a late-on cameo as a priest, veteran actor Rudiger Vogler brings some straight-faced humor to the largely mirthless goings-on.

Passing Summer

Germany

Production: A Peripher Filmverleih release of a Schramm Film/ZDF production. (International sales: Schramm, Berlin.) Produced by Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber. Directed, written by Angela Schanelec.

Crew: Camera (color), Reinhold Vorschneider; editors, Schanelec, Bettina Boehler; art director, David Hoffmann. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 11, 2001. Running time: 85 MIN.

With: With: Ursina Lardi, Andreas Patton, Anne Tismer, Wolfgang Michael, Sophie Aigner, Clara Enge, Nina Weniger, Devid Striesow, Angela Schanelec, Rudiger Vogler.

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