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Past Films

Summer 1993

  • Starring: Laia Artigas, Paula Robles, Bruna Cusí
  • Director: Carla Simon Pipó
  • Genre(s): Drama, Family
  • Language: Catalan
  • Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 97 min.

Estiu 1993 is part of our In Translation series of recent foreign language films of note.

In the summer 1993, following the death of her parents, six years old Frida moves from Barcelona to the Catalan province to live with her aunt and uncle, who are now her new legal guardians. The country life is a challenge for Frida – time passes differently in her new home and the nature that surrounds her is mysterious and estranging. She now has a little sister for whom she has to take care of and has to deal with new feelings, such as jealousy. Often, Frida is naively convinced that running away would be the best solution to her problems. Yet, the family does what it can to achieve a fragile new balance and bring normality to their life. Occasional family outings to a local fiesta or a swimming pool, cooking or listening to jazz in the garden bring them moments of happiness. Slowly, Frida realizes that she is there to stay and has to adapt to the new environment. Before the season is over, she has to cope with her emotions and her parents have to learn to love her as their own daughter.

"Summer 1993 is movingly understated and beautifully acted. "
- Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
"Summer of 1993 does what movies do so well (and yet so rarely do), which is to let viewers see the world through the eyes of another. "
- Andrew Crump, Paste Magazine
"Not since Boyhood has a film shown this much respect and understanding for what it's like to be a child."
- Scott Marks, San Diego Reader
"In this semi-autobiographical period piece, Simón achieves the rare feat of faithfully recreating the mysterious consciousness of a child."
- Peter Keough, Boston Globe
"Ultimately, this is a memorable look at our desire to love and feel safe, to connect and belong - and the unexpected ways in which families can reshape and grow."
- Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"A thoughtful and moving family portrait."
- Jonathan Holland, Hollywood Reporter
"The result is a kind of grief procedural, its focus sharpened by the lush greens of the Catalan landscape."
- Ella Taylor, NPR
"The film confronts directly the contradictory feelings and impulses of a child who must assimilate into a new family, but Simón foregoes the bells and whistles of many other family melodramas, crafting instead an extraordinary and beautiful work of grief and memory. "
- Kyle Turner, Village Voice
"Its jaw-dropping and gripping beauty does not stem from a drama-filled storyline, but from the simplicity with which Simón captures the worldview of her alter-ego heroine, and the complex power struggles Frida engages with her new family. "
- Leonardo Goi, The Film Stage
"Ms. Simón, who has used both of her young performers to powerful effect, also wants us to know how resilient children can be. Some creatures are able to grow new limbs. Frida, given more than half a chance after demanding it, achieves something no less remarkable. She grows new joy and hope. "
- Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal