August 31, 2011

The Endless Summer (USA 1966)

When I was younger, summer was always in a way magical. It was a carefree time of which I have many fond memories. A time that I wished would never end. Now that I am older and more mature, I have become aware of the fact that nothing can last forever and that it was precisely the temporal limitation that made summer so special. I even learned to appreciate the other seasons too. But for a certain period of my life - and I believe I am not the only one with such memories - summer was what it was all about.

"The Endless Summer" follows two young California surfers searching for the perfect wave on a trip around the world. It is an inspiring film that changed the life of quite a few people. It shows you how simple and rewarding life can be if you (some financial backup provided) just do what you like to do the most. It inspired me to learn surfing and while it was quite frustrating in the beginning, I can now share at least some of the excitement the film's protagonists have for it. If you don't have any waves close to where you live, "The Endless Summer" will do perfectly in the meanwhile. It evokes that summer feeling so vividly that it makes you feel as if you have taken the journey around the world together with Mike and Robert.

From today's point of view, the innocent time the film was made is mostly responsible for the charm of the film. A time where you could still find deserted beaches everywhere, a time where you could trust on friendly hitchers to show you around and a time where surfers still wore suits and ties. Technically, the film doesn't have to hide from more spectacular current productions. It is inventive and amazingly well done for the time. But it is less the technical acomplishment than the film's spirit that makes it stand out among all the other surf films. This is especially true for the delightful narration of director Bruce Brown.

"The Endless Summer" is a beautiful film that is endlessly watchable. While it is primarily a film about surfing, it manages to transcend the genre with its universal theme of two people following their dream. It offers an escape into a fantasy life that we all sometimes aspire to.


The Easy Life: "The Endless Summer"

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