“Awash with ripe, voluptuous summertime imagery and brimming with aborning adolescent female sexuality, The Summer of Sangaile is an appealingly simple, poetically conceived teen coming-of-age tale that pivots on the slow-burning romance between two girls,” begins the Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy. “Lithuanian writer-director Alanté Kavaïté’s second feature intensifies that evanescent moment between curious adolescence and full-blown erotic consciousness with a cascade of lushly sensuous visuals…. Having made one previous feature, the mystery Ecoute le Temps (Fissures) in 2007, Kavaïté here goes where countless painters, writers, dramatists and filmmakers have gone before, the pulsating season of first love, and brings it to life through an alluring combination of seductive surface beauty, convincing eroticism and an obvious but undeniably photogenic metaphor for daring to let go, in the form of the airborne acrobatics.”
“Operating under the assumption that mood music plus lengthy gazes plus alternately picturesque and leering camerawork equals romance, Alanté Kavaïté presents a straining film without a cohesive, narrative framework,” finds Sarah Salovaara at Filmmaker.
“The central relationship, between timid Sangaile (Julija Steponaityté, whose surname looks something you’d shout at a cab driver) and the more assertive Auste (Aisté Dirziuté), is beautifully limned in the early going, and Kavaïté has a gift for lyrical sensuality,” grants Mike D’Angelo at the Dissolve. “But Sangaile has not one but two shameful secrets: She cuts herself… and she suffers from terrible vertigo, even though her dream is to become a barnstorming pilot like the ones she avidly watches perform near her home. Her romance with Auste magically solves both of those problems, and the film gets increasingly silly as it becomes more and more overtly therapeutic.”
Nicholas Bell for Ioncinema: “Due to be compared, and unfairly so, to the superior 2013 title Blue is the Warmest Color (and for those detractors of that film so uncomfortable with its brazen sexuality, consider its ability to inspire divisive reaction, whereas Kavaïté’s rendering of sensual pleasures seems rote) solely for its superficial focus on a budding lesbian romance, Kavaïté’s film feels more along the lines with Pawel Pawlikowski’s 2004 film, My Summer of Love, which featured an affair that ended a bit more dramatically…. While Kavaïté may strike less controversy, the film unfortunately lacks resonance, numbingly relayed with stringent familiarity.”
The soundtrack is by Air’s Jean-Benoît Dunckel
More Gregory Ellwood at HitFix and from Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa, where he also interviews Kavaïté. Filmmaker‘s Scott Macaulay talks with cinematographer Dominique Colin. And you can watch another clip at the Playlist (1’12”).