Rome IFF: Carlyle takes nostalgic Summer journey

Article published on Oct. 27, 2008
Article published on Oct. 27, 2008
Two men on a hilltop watch two young boys bike down the valley. “Want to bet I get down there before you?” says one man, sitting in a wheelchair and visibly ill. The words are barely out when he starts downhill, as his incredulous friend looks on.

From the opening scene, Summer by Scottish director Kenneth Glenaan, which screened at the Rome International Film Festival in the Alice in the Cities section, is tragically ironic. The subject is dramatic but the characters never take themselves too seriously throughout the film. “It is a tragedy with a happy ending,” says the director.

In the film, Shaun (Robert Carlyle, who won Best Actor at the 2008 Edinburgh Film Festival) and Daz (Steve Evets) have known each other since they were kids. Daz’s approaching demise awakens in Shaun memories of their childhood and adolescence, periods in life that should be carefree yet were difficult for both.

“The story is set in the East Midlands, in that part of England that was hardest hit by the closing mines in the Thatcher years,” said Glenaan. “I wanted to tell an emotional story through the contrast between the beautiful landscapes and the desolation of a social context of people who have no money, where life is ‘small’ and the only place where people travel is in their minds”.

It is precisely this excursion into the past, marked by Shaun’s love for Katy (Rachael Blake), that allows viewers to empathise with the Shaun of the present, an emotionally restrained person played by an actor who always shines in the part of a sympathetic loser.

Vittoria Scarpa