Summer, 1986

Directed by Eric Rohmer

Reviewed by Gary Tooze



I have come to the conclusion that you either “get” Eric Rohmer films and enjoy them, or you “don’t” and you “don’t”. “Summer” ( French title is “Le Rayon Vert” ) is a typical example. I find the chasm of enjoyment levels are layered very deep, not unlike another French director, Jean-Luc Godard. I suppose the politically correct phraseology would be to say “I have not matured enough as a movie viewer to appreciate Godard”, but on the other hand, Eric Rohmer’s films run an bee-line path right through my philosophical hypothalamus. In spite of ( or perhaps because of ) his films always seem to have the most beautiful, skinny, young, French women, they tend to vigorously stimulate my intellectual pleasure center ( hubba, hubba ).

"Summer" took the top prize at the 1986 Venice Film Festival and more than a few critics grumbled, claiming “A Room With a View” and “Round Midnight” to be superior offerings. Well, here is one vote strongly for Rohmer’s “Summer”, perhaps his most touching film made to date. When I show friends Eric Rohmer’s works, after every viewing I always inquiring to myself, “Why did you like that ?”. This is compounded when no one else seems to share my feelings. Perhaps not knowing how my grey-celled “chimes are being rung” is what keeps me returning for more. I just sit there like an idiot with a huge grin on my face until the end when I go, "Wow, that was great!".

Okay, back to “Summer”. Delphine ( played by Marie Rivière ) is a young, beautiful Parisian girl whose vacation plans with a friend are cancelled on short notice. Through the process of her attempts ( often meager ) at rectifying the situation and actually taking a vacation, we subtly learn all about her. We are there as she has conversations and meetings with friends and family and talks to an ex-lover over the phone. Rohmer has encapsulated the essence of this female so completely that it seems impossible not to see exhibited traits visible in many people who pass through our own lives on a daily basis. Trying not to sound like a Billy Joel song, I find her lovely, head strong, confused, apprehensive, and cerebral…, she cries ( a lot ), she is exasperating and at times you feel like grabbing her shoulders and shaking her. 

Man meet Woman.


 Marie Rivière ( also excellent in Rohmer's "The Aviator’s Wife" ) plays Delphine to perfection as someone who is young, vulnerable and independent of mind. Her untrue answers when a young girl questions if she about a boyfriend is really more a lie she is telling herself than to the young girl.



Rohmer has set this up similar to other films of his in the diary sense where the highlights of each day are chaptered and displayed to us. It is comforting to notice that often nothing really happens on certain days, much like "real life".  After many walks alone she finds examples that she may be cursed. Finding a playing card on the street, the color of self-help signs and horoscopes all give us ( and her ) pause for thought. She rebukes obvious advances from men rejecting their proposals, relating later she would rather be alone than have the empty feeling of a one-night stand. Being particular about what sort of company she's in and feeling down, she eavesdrops on a conversation of elderly people who discuss Jules Verne’s book, “Le Rayon Vert” (The Green Ray). The short answer to your question, “What is the Green Ray?”, well, it is a rare optical effect (a green beam) exhibited by the sun at precisely the moment it is completing setting. For those who view, it is said to help them truly understand their own inner feelings. Already giving evidence of being bohemian/spartan in her lifestyle, she's at loose ends and add to that an emotionally weak state, and this overheard conversation has an effect on her. Perhaps all she needs is a sign?


Delphine has moved restlessly from one place to another and finally she meets a young gentleman in the train station as she is heading home to Paris yet again. We can see in this case she agrees at least to give him a chance and boldly she proposes they spend an afternoon together sightseeing. While strolling on the Boardwalk, they notice at the end of the pier, a souvenir store… it is called “Le Rayon Vert”. She hurries him to a secluded hillside so they can see the sunset together. She holds him close and cries in anticipation, he is confused, she explains, it is a moment of quiet desperation …  and then the sun sets. They both witness The Green Ray on the horizon. She is saved. It is exhilarating.  out of


I should comment here in the abominable quality of the Fox/Lorber DVD. It is cloudy, fuzzy and the negative it is made from is in terrible scratchy condition as well as being in Full Screen with NON-removable subtitles ( there goes my attempt at learning French ! ). I still have not been able to find an answer to if Rohmer's film's are made in 4:3 aspect ratio. Please drop me an e-mail if you know. Thanks.


Full Cast and Crew for

Rayon vert, Le (1986)  


Directed by

Eric Rohmer   


Writing credits

Marie Rivière   

Eric Rohmer   


Cast (in credits order) complete, awaiting verification 

Marie Rivière ....  Delphine 

Amira Chemakhi ....  in Paris 

Sylvie Richez ....  in Paris 

Lisa Herédia ....  Manuella in Paris 

Basile Gervaise ....  in Paris 

Virginie Gervaise ....  in Paris 

René Hernandez ....  in Paris 

Dominique Rivière ....  in Paris 

Claude Jullien ....  in Paris 

Alaric Jullien ....  in Paris 

Laetitia Riviere ....  in Paris 

Isabelle Rivière ....  in Paris 

Béatrice Romand ....  Beatrice in Paris 

Rosette (I) ....  Françoise in Paris 

Marcello Pezzutto ....  in Paris 

Irène Skobline ....  in Paris 

Eric Hamm ....  Edouard in Cherbourg 

Gérard Quéré ....  in Cherbourg 

Julie Quéré ....  in Cherbourg 

Brigitte Poulain ....  in Cherbourg 

Gerard Leleu ....  in Cherbourg 

Liliane Leleu ....  in Cherbourg 

Vanessa Leleu ....  in Cherbourg 

Huger Foote ....  in Cherbourg 

Michel Labourre ....  in La Plagne 

Paulo (I) ....  in La Plagne 

Maria Couto-Palos ....  in Biarritz 

Isa Bonnet ....  in Biarritz 

Yve Doyhamboure ....  in Biarritz 

Dr. Friedrich Gunter Christlein ....  in Biarritz 

Paulette Christlein ....  in Biarritz 

Carita (II) ....  Lena in Biarritz 

Marc Vivas ....  in Biarritz 

Joël Comarlot ....  Joel in Biarritz 

Vincent Gauthier ....  Jacques in Biarritz 


Produced by

Margaret Ménégoz   (producer) 


Original music by

Jean-Louis Valéro   


Cinematography by

Sophie Maintigneux   


Film Editing by

María Luisa García   


Production Management

Françoise Etchegaray ....  production supervisor 


Sound Department

Dominique Hennequin ....  sound mixer 

Claudine Nougaret ....  sound recordist 


Other crew

Philippe Demard ....  sunset photography 


Technical Information


Release Information:

Studio: Fox Lorber

Theatrical Release Date: October 1, 1986

DVD Release Date: June 15, 1999

Run Time: 98 minutes

Production Company: Fox Lorber

Package Type: Keep Case



Aspect Ratio(s):


Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1



Discographic Information:

DVD Encoding: All Regions

Layers: Single

Available Audio Tracks: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

Available subtitles: English



Edition Details:

• All Regions

• Color

• Production notes