L'Été meurtrier (One Deadly Summer) (1983)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this tragic tale of misunderstanding, obsession, and increasing madness, "she," a beautiful young woman (Isabelle Adjani) settles into a small town in the south of France with her introverted mother (Maria Machado) and physically handicapped father and soon becomes the subject of wild speculation because of her aloofness and at the same time, her obvious sexuality. The young woman is actually caught up in the desire to avenge the long-ago rape of her mother, a rape committed by three Italian immigrants, one of whom is associated with a player piano. An attractive car mechanic (Alain Souchon) is enamored of her, and the woman suddenly sees him in a different light when she learns that his father, now dead, was an Italian immigrant who owned a player piano. Intent on taking action against the mechanic's family to right the wrong suffered by her mother, the daughter begins to lose her grip on sanity when she finds out that the men she suspects of the rape are actually innocent. In fact, her father long ago exacted his own vengeance on the three rapists. This knowledge pushes her over the edge, and she has to be institutionalized. Meanwhile, the young mechanic misunderstands what has happened and sets in motion events that cannot but lead to tragedy. L'Été Meurtier garnered four different Cesars in the 1983 competition: "Best Actress" (Isabelle Adjani), "Best Supporting Actress" (Suzanne Flon), "Best Original Screenplay," and "Best Editing." ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Isabelle Adjani
as Elaine/Elle
Alain Souchon
as Pin Pon
Suzanne Flon
as Cognata
Jenny Clève
as Pin Pon's Mother
Michel Galabru
as Gabriel
Manuel Gélin
as Boubou
Maria Machado
as Elle's Mother
Yves Alfonso
as Rostallan
Roger Carel
as Henry IV (nickname)
Evelyne Didi
as Calamite
Jacques Dynam
as Ferraldo
Jean Gaven
as Leballech
Edith Scob
as Lady Doctor
as Elle as a Child
Raymond Meunier
as Brochard
Cecile Vassort
as Josette
Martin Lamotte
as Georges
Max Morel
as Touret
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for L'Été meurtrier (One Deadly Summer)

All Critics (3)

Isabelle Adjani is la belle image and femme fatale in One Deadly Summer, Jean Becker's enticing noir pastiche, now available in a serviceable Blu-ray package from Bayview Entertainment.

Full Review… | November 17, 2015
Slant Magazine

It is difficult to feel sympathetic to someone so bent on getting revenge.

Full Review… | January 11, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quote not available.

July 16, 2005

Audience Reviews for L'Été meurtrier (One Deadly Summer)


An interesting character study that benefits from a strong performance by Adjani as a beautiful young woman bent on revenge. Even so, the story is not only greater due to a predictable ending that you can see coming halfway through the film.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

A fairly decent adaptation of a good psychological thriller by Sébastien Japrisot, scripted by the author himself. The trouble with it is, the book's greatest strengths - the richly detailed provincial French setting and the vivid characterisation, resulting from a multiple first-person narrative - prove difficult to translate to the screen, at least within the constraints of a sensible running time. The movie, therefore, somehow manages to feel simultaneously watered-down and overlong. Japrisot attempts to preserve his first-person narrative in voiceover form, but he overuses this device considerably; I've nothing against voiceovers per se, but cinema should primarily be about visual storytelling, and any movie this reliant on narration must be doing something wrong! Switching from coquettish sexiness to childlike vulnerability in the blink of an eye, Isabelle Adjani is marvellous in the lead role, but try to imagine the film without her and it begins to look very ordinary indeed. The rest of the cast are fine, though strictly two-dimensional. Jean Becker's direction is adequate but completely lacking in tension; a first-rate director - say, Claude Chabrol in his prime - would have made more of the psychosexual strangeness of the tale, and would have better disguised the fact that the nicely ironic ending hinges on a pretty indigestible coincidence. My advice: read the book; if you like it, watch this for Adjani.

Stephen M
Stephen M

Super Reviewer


I didn't really know what to expect from this one at first. With the typical French internal monologue narration thing going on throughout the whole film from several different characters, it starts rolling like most french sexual obsession films. A guy named Pin-Pon becomes fixated on the new hot thing in the town Elle; she oozes sexuality and it's all directed towards Pin-Pon, who's dissaproving mother and deaf aunt watch from the sidelines as the two of them quickly become engaged and married. It soon becomes apparent however that Elle has secrets and is motivated by a dark past. She's out for revenge for the rape of her mother, and she's cooked up a very complex plan to exact it. Now at this point it seems to be a fairly clear cut rape/revenge story like Lady Snowblood, but I'll just say that as this tale comes to a close there are a few twists that caught me by surprise and earned the film a few bonus points. Isabelle Adjani is nothing short of one of the most beautiful and talented actresses in the world and her performance as Elle in this is absolutely perfect. She's sweet, maniacal, tragic and seductive all at the same time. Unfortunately, this is a very hard film to find, but if you ever have a chance to see it I recommend that you do so. I loved it even with my crappy 700 MB rip with gray background subtitles.

Aaron Wittwer
Aaron Wittwer

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