Review: The Summer House (2014)

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Review: The Summer House (2014)

In German with English Subtitles.

From writer/director Curtis Burz; The Summer House is a story about friendship and family but is far more taboo than those normally told on screen and it’s both gripping and intriguing in the way that many European drama’s can be with just a touch of grit to it’s realism.

The film stars Sten Jacobs, Anna Altmann and Jaspar Fuld.



The Larsens are a picture perfect family from the German upper-middle class. They have everything that means comfort and should mean happiness. Business success, a stylish, light-flooded home and a full scholarship for their daughter to study in England. However, the head of the family, Markus (Sten Jacobs), an architect, lives a secret, bisexual double life as his wife Christine (Anna Altmann) and their eleven-year-old daughter Elisabeth (Nina Splettstößer) drown in unendurable loneliness. Markus realizes that he has a strong yearning for one of his daughter’s school friends, Johannes, 12, also the son of his tax penalty-bedeviled business partner, Christopher (Stephan Bürgi).

The cinematography is wonderfully bright and reflective in contrast to the story (with some excellent arty european style shots such as close-ups of food and making coffee) and a mixed electronic and light ambient/jazz score helps with the pace of the piece and adds excitement.
The subject matter is certainly controversial but I am not sure if this is merely shock cinema (the sex scenes are very graphic) for the sake of it or if there is a deeper story trying to be told here.

3/5

The film is available now to rent or buy now on Vimeo.


The Larsens are a picture perfect family from the German upper-middle class. They have everything that means comfort and should mean happiness. Business success, a stylish, light-flooded home and a full scholarship for their daughter to study in England. However, the head of the family, Markus, an architect, lives a secret, bisexual double life as his wife Christine and their eleven-year-old daughter Elisabeth drown in unendurable loneliness. Markus realizes that he has a strong yearning for one of his daughter’s school friends, Johannes, 12, also the son of his tax penalty-bedeviled business partner, Christopher. He succeeds in getting closer to Johannes and binds the boy to himself with ever-increasing intensity. His wife is desperately aware of the emotional distance of her husband, but only her daughter Elizabeth, reacting to the sexually laden atmosphere, sees through the lies and secrets that she instinctively knows to be an growing, disruptive threat to the entire family.


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Ben started out as a technology blogger before branching out into writing about Film & TV. An obsessive fan of indie film & dark comedies you will probably find him waxing lyrical about the movies of Kevin Smith, The Coen Brothers, Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino.

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