Summer Nights
Les Nuits d’été

DIRECTOR: Mario Fanfani

Bay Area Premiere

It’s 1959 in a modest city in Alsace, and Michel, a respectable, mild-mannered bureaucrat, has a career in local government that’s on the rise. His wife, Hélène, is an intelligent beauty focused on raising their young son and doing good in the community. They may seem like the perfect couple, but at home, their relationship is clearly strained—and only Michel knows why. He is keeping a secret—living a double life: Every weekend he can get away, he heads to a secluded country home where he lives as Mylène, an elegant, delicate bourgeoise with auburn hair and a preference for understated jewelry. Mylène and her longtime friend Flavia (who lives her weekdays as a man with the name Jean-Marie) have only these secluded hours—and the time they can snatch to spend at an underground cabaret for “transvestites” (the term of the time)—to truly be themselves.

With this atmosopheric period piece, director Mario Fanfani has delivered a thoughtful, layered, and quirky drama (though there are moments of delightful comedy, too) that asks questions of gender, love, and identity—both personal and national, as the film plays out against the backdrop of France’s embroilment in the Algerian War for Independence. Michel/Mylène, played marvelously by well-known French actor Guillaume de Tonquédec, is a fascinating and relatable character: a woman who is beginning to realize that she can no longer hide her true self.

— Charles Purdy

In French with English subtitles.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F131

Co-presented by:
Alliance Française de San Francisco

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