Stefan Krohmer’s Summer ‘04 is a masterful and original thriller that matches Rohmer’s vacationing plots with the paranoid and Polanski's anxious underpinnings, and fuses the two together in a noir-tinged story of desire, infidelity, responsibility — and, of course, moral ambiguity. Miriam (Martina Gedeck of The Lives of Others) and her family have traveled to the ocean for some summer sailing. Her 15-year-old son has brought along his girlfriend, Livia (Svea Lohde), a very mature looking 12-year-old. Tensions mount as Livia takes an interest in Bill (Robert Seeliger), a much older man and fellow vacationer who should know better than to reciprocate. Instead of climaxing with conventional plot twists, Summer '04 slowly builds upon each of its subtle layers of discomfort, deepening the psychological nuances of its characters and avoiding the easy, clichéd resolutions that spoil so many thrillers.
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Playing before Summer ‘04 is Jonas Odell’s animated short, Never Like the First Time! Using documentary audio of four people discussing their first sexual experience, Odell’s visuals are as striking as they are profound, combining sketch and line drawings with vintage magazine cut-outs, highlighting youthful idealism and inexperience, along with humiliation, suffering — and a rare, fragile joy.