A beautiful summer, review: the sensual spring of our discontent

Review of La bella estate, the adaptation of Laura Luchetti’s novel by Cesare Pavese, starring Yile Yara Vianello, Deva Cassel and Alessandro Piavani, in theaters with Lucky Red from 24 August.

A beautiful summer, review: the sensual spring of our discontent

Force Caesar Pavese It’s in the description of the characters. Small, crisp details that make men and women live on the page. When beautiful summer, especially by women, as this is one of the most famous “women’s” novels of the Piedmontese writer. And who better than the director to bring it to the big screen? Faced with such an enterprise Laura Luchetti find an effective read key. The case is created by the presence of the Virgin Cassel, daughter of Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel, who made her big screen debut here as Amelia. How elusive and mysterious is Amelia in Pavese and Luchetti’s will, how much Ginia, the true protagonist, is rooted in the present, torn between work as a seamstress and housework to look after her brother Severino. To interpret this, Yile Yara Vianello, already seen in Heavenly body AND Chimera Alice Rohrwacher.

Beautiful Summer Yile Vianello Virgo Cassel

Beautiful summer: Yile Yara Vianello and Deva Kassel in the dance scene

Well, the chemistry between the two actresses is the fulcrum that everything revolves around. beautiful summer, an elegant and refined costume drama. The reconstruction of the era of Laura Luchetti envelops the viewer with colorful characters whose little dramas immediately grab attention, despite the feeling of incompleteness that hangs in the background. Surprisingly, the image of these young women, who in the summer of 1938, when World War II knocked on their doors, were more concerned with finding activities that would satisfy them or getting rid of their virginity, was considered more of an annoying obstacle than a virtue to be protected. in a clearly modern and anachronistic concept for that time.

Modern adaptation

Faced with an aesthetic that respects the canons of the era in which the story took place, with great care in the appearance of the characters, in the costumes, in the poses, in the reconstruction of the environment (excellent work by costume designer Maria Cristina La Parola and set designer Giancarlo Muselli), beautiful summer seeks to show the universality of the vitality of youth through the lives of a handful of friends forced to struggle with the hardships of everyday life in a big city like Turin and their reaction to the arrival of a foreign element. An element that manifests itself in the image of Amelia, who emerges from the lake after diving like a mermaid and introduces Genia to her world of absinthe, impoverished artists, dusty workshops and blatant sensuality.

Beautiful summer Virgo Kassel

Beautiful summer: Yile Yara Vianello and Deva Kassel in an intimate moment

Nomen omen, Laura Luchetti takes the title of her new work literally, constructing a film of stares, close-ups, bodies lying limply on couches, and work-worn or paint-stained hands. The young people at the center of the story are all beautiful, cheerful and fashionable. Alessandro Piavani takes on the shoulders of the most obnoxious but also more flamboyant character, that Guido who alternates between painting sessions and predatory activities in search of young women to seduce in a workshop he shares with the fancier Rodriguez (Adrien DeWitt). beautiful summer this is history coming of age yesterday, a young woman growing up through pain, regrets, mistakes, silence and oversights. Nothing new under the sun, but thanks to the directorial efforts of Laura Luchetti, this ancient world is less distant in time than expected.

What a beautiful youth

What worries young people the most as they transition from adolescence to adulthood? Search for love and sex of course. On paper, La bella estate deeply emotional film, but Laura Luchetti’s sensibility intervenes in the depiction of sex, “cooling it down” to avoid vulgarity and gratuitous scenes. While modeling Amelia’s nudes are always restrained and reduced to a kind of transparent image, Ginia’s nudes are completely natural. The female touch in the choreography is evident in the first Ginia, Guido’s sexual passion, and Amelia’s mischievous dances, culminating in a slow dance between the two girls during a village feast when the camera is so close to their faces. to prompt the viewer to consider whether the people around them have realized their special connection or whether it exists mainly in their minds.

La Bella Estate Yile Yara Vianello Alessandro Piavani Locarno 2023

A beautiful summer: Yile Yara Vianello and Alessandro Piavani at Locarno 2023

Talking about same-sex relationships and exploring your identity under Fascism it’s not easy, and Laura Luchetti’s film is very careful in depicting the relationship between Ginia and Amelia, limited to winks, half-phrases, languid looks, never once clarifying the essence of the matter. If, on the one hand, this aura of understatement can make the discovery of this small ancient world more intriguing, in which echoes of the present resound, then, on the other hand, it can disappoint. Even in the most tense moments, there is a certain emotional detachment, a basic coldness due to the register used by the characters. The only one who tries to overcome this barrier is Guido’s translator, Alessandro Piavani, who honestly stakes, resulting in the most optimistic playing the role of a beautiful and tormented artist who seduces Ginia. The rest, starting with the thoughtful Nicolas Maup as Severino, resort to a correct and seemingly flawless performance, which, however, takes away a little of the emotion, leaving the viewer with a desire for something more.


A focused and exciting adaptation featured in our review of La bella Estate, a film by Laura Luchetti inspired by Cesare Pavese’s classic. The film translates Pavese’s stories of adolescents in search of identity into imagery, focusing on a classic setting incorporating contemporary elements. The cast is compelling, despite the fact that the cast as a whole is too proper and not very engaging on an emotional level.

Because we love it

  • The reenactment of the era is mesmerizing due to the productive efforts in terms of environment, costumes and scenery.
  • The direction is balanced and elegant.
  • The essence of Pavese’s novel comes to life, revealing current events.

What’s the matter

  • The acting is correct, but not very attractive.

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