TIFF Next Wave ’21: Our Review of ‘Summertime’

TIFF Next Wave ’21: Our Review of ‘Summertime’

Following the lives of 25 diverse young people, Summertime brings poetry to life onscreen. The film tells its story over one day in the California heat. It uses spoken-word to weave together multiple interconnected narratives. These narratives express the hopes and dreams of the next generation. The members of this generation attempt to navigate a world that struggles to hear their voices.

Directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada (Blindspotting), Summertime is film about taking notice of the next generation. Summertime is fluid and energetic. It cares far more about allowing the poetry lead the narrative than attempting to force any specific structure. A creative spirit drives the film. It fearlessly uses multiple poetic styles to bring their words to life. (It includes a La La Land-esque dance number at one point).

As a result, there’s a vibrancy to Summertime that is almost spellbinding. Summertime‘s narrative slides from person to person. It recognizes that everyone’s story matters and seeks to give them a platform to share their hearts. Estrada is the film’s director on paper. But the film is very much a collaborative effort. It gives these young people the opportunity to speak their own voice in their own way. And whether its frustration over the cost of a cheeseburger or anger over a young man’s homophobia on the bus, these high schoolers have come to ‘spit that emotional fire in [our] face’, as one girl points out.

Though, this is not to suggest that Summertime is merely 95 minutes of angry rants. Instead, with each verse and couplet, the film mirrors the ebs and flows of youthful and passions for justice and love. This is a generation that doesn’t claim to have everything figured out. But they are willing to lean into their questions in order to find some answers.

Buy tickets to Summertime through https://www.tiff.net/events/summertime-lopez-estrada.

This post was written by
Born at a very early age, Steve is a Toronto-based writer and podcaster who loves to listen to what matters to our culture on screen. When he first saw Indiana Jones steal the cross of Coronado, he knew his world would never be the same and, since then, he’s found more and more excuses to digest what’s in front of him onscreen. Also, having worked as a youth and community minister for almost 20 years, he learned that stories help everyone engage the world around them. He’s a proud hubby, father (x2) and believes that Citizen Kane, Batman Forever (yes, the Kilmer one), and The Social Network belong in the same conversation. You can hear his ramblings on ScreenFish Radio wherever podcasts are gettable or at his website, ScreenFish.net.
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