A shy maths student goes on holiday to Dinard before starting his first job. He hopes that the girl he is in love with will accompany him, but soon makes friends with another girl who works in the village. She in turn introduces him to yet another girl who has her eye on him. The quiet young man thus faces a romantic dilemma, a recurring theme in Rohmer’s oeuvre.
Je pars pour de longs mois en laissant Margot.
Hissez haut Santiano !
D’y penser j’avais le cœur gros
En doublant les feux de Saint-Malo.
Hugues Afray’s ‘Santiano’, sung by Léna in Conte d'été
« Quand je tourne, je ne dirige pas les acteurs. Pour Conte d’été, j’ai dit à Melvil Poupaud : « Il faudra parler fort et distinctement, il faudra que votre voix domine le bruit de la mer. » Pour l’y préparer, j’ai ouvert la fenêtre de mon bureau, j’ai monté la volume de la radio, et je lui ai demandé de parler... C’est purement technique. Pour le reste, je laisse mes acteurs exprimer leur sensibilité, ce qu’ils font très bien. »
Eric Rohmer en conversation avec Noël Herpe et Philippe Fauvel1
“[...] of all the films that I have been able to make, I think that it is this one which is the most personal vehicle. Everything that is in this film is true. These being the things that I was able to experience during my youth, the things that I was able to notice. There is a lot less invention of situations. For each thing, I could give you an example. But it is not because one shows something based on fact that the film is good; actual experiences must be rethought. From this point of view, though, the film is really authentic. And in life as in my film, what happens is only the end of an account, things continue. The things that I show are things that happened during a period of holidays and I can say with the benefit of a certain hindsight that those things happened to me when I was the age of the character.”