Review: The Summer House (2014)

In German with English Subtitles.

From writer/director Curtis Burz; The Summer House is a story about friendship and family but is far more taboo than those normally told on screen and it’s both gripping and intriguing in the way that many European drama’s can be with just a touch of grit to it’s realism.

The film stars Sten Jacobs, Anna Altmann and Jaspar Fuld.

The Larsens are a picture perfect family from the German upper-middle class. They have everything that means comfort and should mean happiness. Business success, a stylish, light-flooded home and a full scholarship for their daughter to study in England. However, the head of the family, Markus (Sten Jacobs), an architect, lives a secret, bisexual double life as his wife Christine (Anna Altmann) and their eleven-year-old daughter Elisabeth (Nina Splettstößer) drown in unendurable loneliness. Markus realizes that he has a strong yearning for one of his daughter’s school friends, Johannes, 12, also the son of his tax penalty-bedeviled business partner, Christopher (Stephan Bürgi).

thesummerhouse
The cinematography is wonderfully bright and reflective in contrast to the story (with some excellent arty european style shots such as close-ups of food and making coffee) and a mixed electronic and light ambient/jazz score helps with the pace of the piece and adds excitement.
The subject matter is certainly controversial but I am not sure if this is merely shock cinema (the sex scenes are very graphic) for the sake of it or if there is a deeper story trying to be told here.

3/5

The film is available now to rent or buy now on Vimeo.

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