Friday, 26 August 2011

Endless Summer

Inspirational Cinema at its Best by Lauonfilm

Lover: Taken from IMDB

"Just get the DVD and settle into your favorite chair, add some pals, a few kids, some snacks and a drink and you have the complete setting and the perfect film for 90 minutes to make you delighted with life for the next 90 days. I first saw the ES in 1964 when Bruce Brown came to Australia and would hire old cinemas on a night they were usually closed. He ran the film silent and spoke the narration over the microphone live in the theater! The word of mouth of this film was 100% as the entertainment value... and in a city thronging with teen surfers desperate to see their sport on a real movie screen, this film projected in 16mm in a crumbling 2500 seat suburban theater (struggling to stay open) was a joyous hilarious revelation that has us kids and older pals living the dream ourselves at our local beaches. This is a perfect piece of family entertainment and you are encouraged to get it see it show it and keep it to remind yourself at what fun life can be. It is a life reaffirming experience and we are all the richer as humans for having it in our lives. The only other two films I feel this strongly about, and they are so different as films... are the 30s musical ROBERTA and the new documentary THE BALLET RUSSE. A short film called THE RED JACKET is equally strong and humanist... each of these films will do for your senses and heart to elate you beyond your wildest wishes. The music score for THE ENDLESS SUMMER by the pop group the Sandals (!) is equally unforgettable. It is worth buying as a CD when you get the DVDs of The Endless Summer, Endless Summer 2 and other Bruce Brown comedy surfing documentary valentines."

Lovely to hear the history of this from a person who originally viewed it when it was released in cinemas. I’m also intrigued to watch the films that this reviewer feels are similarly heartfelt and interesting.

Hater: Taken from Amazon

"Bruce Brown's first Endless Summer is now mainly of historical interest. The age of the film makes no easy viewing at first. The sound is somewhat muffled, the music somewhat outdated and the camera work is that of the 1960s. However, I have seen the movie several times and each time it grew on me more, and I now like it. The story has no plot, the action is on the sport of surfing and the search of surf in the various countries visited. Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer is a good movie to have in your surf movie collection. Interestingly, Bruce Brown comments on the arrival of porpoises at a Durban beach that sharks and porpoises have yet to integrate in South Africa [stress placed on 'in South Africa']. Porpoises and sharks will not be found together in the water. To the finer tuned ear a clear comment on the racial policies in South Africa during those years. Bruce Brown's humour has improved in wit in his second Endless Summer which shows that his mind has definitely become younger over the years! The minds of surfers usually do."

I find it strange that this reviewer has said the film has no plot - this film follows two surfers as they continually travel Eastwards to various countries, in effect chasing the Summer, making it endless (hence the title). I thought this was apparent, but the viewer may not have grasped this! It’s also very evidently personal opinion whether the aged nuances of the film affects the viewing pleasure – I felt the vintage news-reel sound quality and nostalgic music added to the ambience of the film.

What Lauonfilm thought:
Endless Summer (1966) is one of those films that you just stumble upon, whether it’s been recommended by a friend or you’ve found on an obscure digital channel in the small hours of the night and decided to give it a try. I’d say 90% of today’s public would instantly ignore the friend’s suggestion or change the obscure channel. But if the subject matter of surfing / the exotic scenery / the high-wasted shorts intrigue you in some way and you continue to watch, then you’re in for a reward. Because before very long you’ll likely find that you are captivated, and have stumbled across a cinematic gem.

As stated above, this documentary follows surfers Robert August and Mike Hynson as they chase the Summer by travelling over several months from the shores of Senegal, along the West Coast of Africa to Camp Francis in South Africa, across to Australia and New Zealand, then to Tahiti and finishing in Hawaii. They meet locals along the way; even introduce the sport to several appreciative natives. We experience their excitement, skills and the beautiful sunrises and sunsets that they experience within the locations, and pop band ‘The Sandals’ provide a soundtrack to this which fits every scene perfectly, creating an upbeat and heartfelt atmosphere throughout.

What I loved about a film that is exclusively on the subject of surfing is that there is very little technical surfing information that only surfers would understand. At the beginning of the film I wondered how narrator Bruce Brown would continue at the same entertaining pace and deadpan tone for the full 95 minutes. He didn’t falter – my favourite comment of his being, “There was a young fellow out surfing that day who had a problem with a growth on his back. Actually his father fixed him with a life preserver so if he fell off he’d float. Face down. Dear old dad.” We are predominantly given access to what surfers think during their experiences, what they say to each other (Australians have the habit of claiming “you should’ve been here yesterday” to disguise their mediocre waves) and the tricks surfers use, along with geographical information about the various countries, the resident surfers and the skills that have made them famous. It’s interesting and often very passionate information.

This film does border on specialist though for obvious reasons, so a person uninterested in surfing, vintage films or documentaries, who maybe doesn’t appreciate beautiful scenery or likes their films action-packed, may not enjoy it. Personally I don’t think this is a film just for your “surf movie collection” though, and it will be added to my collection of inspirational films such as Touching the Void and Into the Wild.

A timeless and effortless gem.

Available on DVD
Running Time: 161 mins
Cert: U

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"Films are Loved, Films are hated. I'm here to help you decide where you stand..." I also do web work including a good knowledge of HTML, ASP, using the adobe web package and a strong understanding of SEO, Google Analytics.