Last Summer (French: L’Été dernier) is a 2023 French erotic drama film directed by Catherine Breillat, from a screenplay written by Breillat in collaboration with Pascal Bonitzer. It is a remake of the 2019 Danish film Queen of Hearts. Starring Léa Drucker and Samuel Kircher, the film explores the taboos of a stepmother–stepson relationship.
The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered on 25 May 2023. It was released in France on 13 September 2023.
Anne is a respected lawyer who lives in Paris with her husband Pierre and their two young daughters. Théo, Pierre’s 17-year-old son from a previous marriage, moves in, and Anne eventually begins an affair with him. In doing so, she risks jeopardizing her career and losing her family. Théo is a fragile figure and, as time goes on, the relationship turns destructive.
- Léa Drucker as Anne
- Olivier Rabourdin as Pierre
- Samuel Kircher as Théo
- Clotilde Courau as Mina
- Serena Hu as Serena
- Angela Chen as Angela
- Romain Maricau
- Romane Violeau
- Marie Lucas
- Nelia Da Costa
- Lilas-Rose Gilberti-Poisot
Last Summer is director Catherine Breillat’s 15th feature film and her first film since her autobiographical drama Abuse of Weakness released ten years earlier. The film is a remake of the 2019 Danish film Queen of Hearts, which was directed by May el-Toukhy, who co-wrote the film with Maren Louise Kaëhne.
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi was initially cast in role of Anne before being replaced by Léa Drucker. Samuel Kircher, the son of actors Irène Jacob and Jérôme Kircher, makes his film debut as the teenage stepson Théo. Samuel was recommended to Breillat by his brother Paul, who was originally scheduled to play the role. In an interview given in early February 2023, Drucker said that Last Summer is “one of the most disturbing films” in which she has acted. The film poses the questions “Is it love? Where does love stop? Where does the transgression begin?” without being “moralistic”. The film reminded Drucker of the play Blackbird by Scottish dramatist David Harrower, in which she has starred on stage. Blackbird tells the story of a young woman meeting a middle-aged man fifteen years after being sexually abused by him when she was twelve.
Filming took place from 7 June to 13 July 2022. Jeanne Lapoirie served as the director of photography. The film was produced by Saïd Ben Saïd through his company SBS Productions. According to director Catherine Breillat, the shooting took place “in a state of absolute grace”. Breillat described herself as physically diminished and “afraid of not holding on”, but said she rediscovered her love of filming during the production of Last Summer.
Last Summer was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, where it had its world premiere on 25 May 2023.
The film was theatrically released in France by Pyramide Distribution on 13 September 2023. Following screening at the 2023 New York Film Festival. It was also invited at the 28th Busan International Film Festival in ‘Icon’ section and will be screened in October 2023.
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