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A Compelling Tale of Vengeance | Paul Reviews ONE DEADLY SUMMER

One Deadly Summer (Cult Films)

See the video review here.

Based on the 1977 novel of the same title by Sebastian Japrisot, a writer often described as ‘the French Graham Greene’, Jean Becker’s 1983 film One Deadly Summer was nominated for the Palm d’Or in the 1983 Cannes Film Festival and won its lead actress, Isabelle Adjani, the César Award for Best Actress in 1984. (That year, Japrisot also won the César for Best Adapted Screenplay for his adaptation of his own novel.) The story itself is very much in the vein of neo-noir and is comparable to the novels of the American writer Jim Thompson, the author of The Killer Inside Me and Population 1280.

Adjani plays a mysterious young woman who moves to the South of France with her family and becomes obsessed with the idea of seeking vengeance against the three men who, she believes, raped her mother many years previously. She enlists the help of a mechanic, played by Alain Souchon - whom she marries - but becomes disturbed by the revelation that the three men who she thought were guilty of the crime are in fact innocent parties. (The crime was committed by a different group of men, against whom Adjani’s father exacted revenge a number of years prior.) The story ends tragically for both lead characters.

One Deadly Summer is a morally complex film which has some similarities to the classic Japanese novel Rashomon, itself the basis of a film adaptation by Akira Kurosawa, which examined a crime from four different perspectives. Adjani’s performance underpins the film, and it’s a tremendous role for the actress; her character is emotionally disturbed from the get-go and this state becomes amplified as the story progresses. One Deadly Summer is also beautifully photographed too, something which should translate very well to the Blu-ray format within the context of Cult Films’ new release of the picture.

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