Summer (Le Rayon Vert) (1986): Eric Rohmer’s Fifth Film in his Acclaimed Series, Comedies & Proverbs

Celebrating the anniversary of Eric Rohmer’s 1986 classic Le Rayon vert with a new 35mm print.

Le Rayon vert, which translates as “the green ray” though was retitled Summer for the original US release, was cited as a career high, a flawlessly constructed, shot, and performed feature.

Made during a production break on Le Rayon vert and released the following year, Four Adventures, which has rarely been screened since its initial release, is equally deserving of a place among Rohmer’s loveliest films

Winner of the Golden Lion and FIPRESCI prize at the 1986 Venice Film Fest, Le Rayon vert follows the independent but insecure Delphine, played by Rohmer regular Marie Rivière (Autumn Tale, The Aviator’s Wife), a newly single young Parisian who cannot find a holiday companion for the month of August.

She meets and rejects suitors and potential friends as she glides and stumbles in her longing for connection. Rivière, who also co-wrote her role, delivers one of the most captivating lead performances in any of the filmmaker’s works.

Rohmer’s genius was in creating on screen lives that were at once ordinary and rarefied, seemingly simple yet complex, in movies of uncommon sensitivity and emotional reserves.

Declaring Le Rayon vert one of 1986’s best movies, list that included Hannah and Her Sisters, The Sacrifice, and Vagabond, Andrew Sarris praised the film in The Village Voice saying, “No other film of the year has struck me with the force of Rohmer’s ultimate masterwork. No film that I can recall in years has provided such a profound insight into the human condition…The miracle of Le Rayon vert is how Rohmer has penetrated so deeply into the psyche of an ordinary person with none of the usual stigmata of high drama. Le Rayon vert is a singularly ennobling episode in the history of cinema. And in terms of the bloated budgets of the so-called motion picture industry, this beauty has simply walked out of the water and onto the beach like a Botticelli Venus.”