My Summer in Provence

France submitted "Avis de mistral" (English captions) to the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival. (The poster in IMDb looks like it's in German...) In our SIFF catalog, this film is called "an effervescent comedy." Jay Lane calls it "predictable and fun."

A trio of siblings are sent to the French hinterlands for the summer after their parents separate prior to a divorce. They'll be living with grand- parents they never knew because of an old family rift. As written and directed by award-winning Rose Bosch ("Animal"), we become acquainted with these reluctant youngsters and their even more reluctant grandfather, a farmer devoted to his olive trees (he talks to them).

We see:
  • Jean Reno ("Hector and the Search for Happiness") Grand- père Paul isn't quite sure what to expect from these virtual strangers but he DOES know he doesn't want the chance to find out.
  • Anna Galiena ("The Falcon and the Dove") is their grandmother Irêne. This wise woman never takes a wrong turn, but wait until the children learn about her youth!
  • Chloé Jouannet ("Lucky Luke") Léa, the teenage girl, is a vegan and an eco-conscious locavore, to her grandfather's outrage. At least she has a cellphone signal in her miserable little attic bedroom. Whew!
  • Hugo Dessioux ("Fonzy") Adrien, big brother to Théo, is faced with the possibility that he might have to be the man of the house when they move back with their mother. At least he's a lady-killer: check out the two Swedish girls, the two English girls and the two French girls.
  • Lukas Pélissier, in his first movie, has taken the role of Théo, a deaf boy (Lukas too, is deaf). His open-hearted attitude leaves Grand-père Paul no choice but to fall in love with him instantly.
  • Tom Leeb ("Paroles") is Tiago, the handsome young devil who takes our sweet teenage girl to the seaside for some pot and pills. We are as alarmed as Grand-père Paul.
After a rocky start, our trio of city mice starts to appreciate the countryside. The littlest one begins by watering the tomatoes, his older brother uses Facebook (and even surprises himself!), and the girl goes shopping with Grand-mère before she meets that really handsome fellow.

This is enjoyable from beginning to end, with delicious comic turns by Reno and Galiena, whose characters are former flower children. What a treat! And a hundred or so French students from local Seattle high schools who attended our press screening were very well behaved: no talking, and NO CELLPHONES!