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A Blazing Feature-Length Debut — Endless Summer Syndrome (Raindance Film Festival)

2 min read
Delphine standing by the end of a swimming pool

Libra Rising Films

Endless Summer Syndrome is a sharp, private and meticulous journey into the dark heart of the family unit. Paced and tight-focused, it marks a blazing feature-length debut for Iranian writer-director Kaveh Daneshmand.

The film is set across three days of constant sun, where nights are passing montages and the heat envelops every frame. Hostages of sun flares, sun cream and tan lines, the family’s secrets are cast into the light by the unwavering brightness of summer days. Delphine, a successful lawyer; Antoine, an accomplished writer; Adia and Aslan, their adopted daughter and son; these are our subjects, confined to the sprawling grounds of a rural villa, the nearest attraction: a dam — enclosed, isolated and encompassing.

Early on, we watch a naked figure on the screen, Delphine, getting ready — but her body is just there, apolitical, putting on a swimsuit. Within the next 10 minutes, after an anonymous call reveals an illicit affair within the family, bodies change meaning; they become battlefields, grounds of suspicion and contest; to be covered, scrutinised and protected. But whose body? 

We aren’t left to wonder for too long neither the conclusion to the film nor the violence hiding underneath the family dynamics. Unobstructed by the audience’s insight, the focus, instead, remains attached to the mother, following her attempts to navigate a new, uncertain version of her familiar reality, one in which the truth escapes from her grasp over and over again, just by a second, or by a step. Is she reaching too close to the sun?

We know, they all know — but she doesn’t. Kaveh Daneshmand makes us complicit and witness to a secret we cannot reveal or prevent — we are unable to interrupt the cycle of endless summer and they, well, they just need to look like a normal family for one more day. Can they make it?

Endless Summer Syndrome screened at Raindance Film Festival 2024