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‘Summer of ’85’ Film Review: François Ozon Explores His Favorite Things – Sex, Death, Dark Humor

‘Summer of ’85’ Film Review: François Ozon Explores His Favorite Things – Sex, Death, Dark Humor

Set in the year when writer-director François Ozon turned 18, “Summer of ’85” depicts gay adolescent romance in a sun-dappled, seaside French town. But to compare it to “Call Me by Your Name” makes about as much sense as pairing “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” with the original “Godzilla” just because they’re both about the aftermath of the atomic bomb.

Ozon, adapting the British YA novel “Dance on My Grave” by Aidan Chambers, has a rather different story to tell, and it’s one that fits with many of the director’s favorite themes, particularly the intersection of sexuality and mortality, explored in a manner that occasionally leads to pitch-black humor. It’s even peppered with visual and thematic references to earlier Ozon films, from his international hit “Swimming Pool” to his breakthrough short “A Summer Dress.”

It’s a tale told in flashback, as we open on Alexis being hauled in for

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