Anna’s Summer, is a lovely and introspective film about life, death, remembrance and discovery. Anna, played evocatively by Angela Molina, is reminded of the loss of her loved ones and their qualities that made them not only lovable, but vulnerable and fallible. She has grace, countenance and an expressive nature reminiscent of Penelope Cruz in recent Pedro Almodóvar films. Her visage proves absolutely perfect for a role centering so much around reflection and the memories of her past. She is well-developed as a strong and determined character, but not so overwhelming that she’s off-putting. Molina humanizes, far better than most actresses, the feelings of loss and reflection.
The film, primarily set and filmed in Greece, vividly captures the picturesque setting with its scenic vistas and breathtaking seascapes. Rather than place being the catalyst for memory, the film is punctuated with Anna’s discovery of “stories” within a trunk holding tangible memories of her late mother, father and husband and her relationships with them. The film switches back and forth between vignettes from her memory and her present discoveries about the people she loved and a developing lust-interest, played by handsome actor Agis Emmanouil. Anna reflects upon her place in the world by way of these objects and their places in the personal histories of the people who meant the most to her.
Jeanine Meerapfel appears to be well-acquainted with Greek culture and its mouth-watering marine cuisine as evidenced in the omni-presence of food and cooking within the film. The scenes with food always seem to conjure up memories for Anna. It has been said, after-all, that certain smells can be linked to specific memories. Meerapfel seems to be successfully illustrating that everything in daily life can remind one of someone or something and it is these people and situations that make us who we are in the long run.