A Corsican Summer (I Comete)
The feature-length directorial debut of Pascal Tagnati, A Corsican Summer is, as the title suggests, a cinematic spotlight on summer in a village in Corsica, taking cross-sections across various lines of class, age, race and gender in a series of vignettes.
With a few significant exceptions, the snapshots of Corsican life mostly consist of extended conversations between its ensemble cast, lingering on small interpersonal moments that range from the sincere to the crude. The film uses a local cast, along with more professional actors for larger roles, and this diverse cast helps to give the experience some extra authenticity, bolstered by the improv-heavy dialogue.
While the individual moments are largely unconnected, the picture still makes sure its narrative through lines are clear: ideas of age and time obviously play a part, as do concepts of freedom, nation and identity. I Comete does a good job at weaving these storytelling threads into the diverse character arcs of its large cast, preserving the “candid camera” aesthetic well, while ensuring the result is still a guided narrative experience.
This aesthetic is bolstered by the cinematography, with camerawork that mostly consists of wide, static shots. There is also a lot of visual emphasis placed on the backgrounds, rendering the narrative focal points smaller to give the scenery a bit of extra breathing space.
It’s definitely a slow film in every element of its design, but deliberately so – the pacing works well with the cinematography to perfectly encapsulate the way time is suspended by a sleepy summer, and invites the audience to slow down and take in the sights of Corsica. While the shots are static to preserve the aesthetic of the piece, cinematographer Javier Ruiz Gomez also keeps things interesting by providing a number of different visual backdrops for the various scenes, creating a comprehensive and complex picture of this Corsican village.
A Corsican Summer is an ambitious first feature-length outing for Tagnati. While its pacing and structure are definitely an acquired taste, it accomplishes everything it set out to do effectively and boldly, confident in its narrative journey and content to take its time. This is one for more patient filmgoers, but they will be rewarded with a compelling and engaging excursion.
I Comete: A Corsican Summer does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch a clip from I Comete: A Corsican Summer here: