A Summer in Saint Tropez David Hamilton got it right in his last film (so far) when he omitted the plot and dialogue and focused on what he does better than anyone else – photography of scantily clad late teenage girls on the brink of womanhood. “Not a girl, not yet a woman” embodied in this film.
Although the theme carries the film, the apparently detached scenes have a fitting conclusion in the end.
The film is clearly a photographer’s work. Whether we are treated with a picture of fields in early morning mist, a girl washing her hair or just her sleeping, these are professionally set-up compositions to look like a photograph. Hamilton uses soft focus everywhere, (the film is not meant to be an example of high definition cinema at all, although I’m sure the film print I saw was much better than the previous reviewer’s experience) creating a hazy, dreamy look on everything and the color contrasts between the more or less tanned girls, their clothes and surroundings accentuate the sensuality of the girls and the situations between them. Many times the camera and subjects are still for long periods of time or the camera pans slowly through the scene, reminding me in some weird way of some of the works of Andrei Tarkovsky..! Hamilton even uses still photos a couple of times for no reason at all, being somewhat of a letdown for me.
The sound quality was fine and the simple piano/synth music was MOST of the time unobtrusive and supported the action on screen.
The subject is not only a male fantasy, but also a very innocent look into a girls’ fantasy world as well: a worry-free perpetual Indian summer filled with sunny days and gentle breezes, flower garlands, auburn sunsets, skinny dipping without a hint of self-consciousness, ballet training and horseback riding, a touch of clumsy boys and playful sensuality (not sexuality!) amongst the girls – all done in a very tasteful manner and utmost respect at the subjects without exploiting them.
Hamilton has done a fine job directing the girls to behave in their natural feminine way without much pretense. The girls are highly photogenic when they appear to gaze into nothingness, apparently deep in their thoughts.
I cannot imagine anyone doing films like these anymore.