Childhood… long gone, but still so much a part of my life. Something I haven’t thought about in a long while, but, after watching Carla Simón’s 2017 film Summer 1993, memories of which have flooded back to me. Maybe they are not memories, and more like a state of being I remember from then. Whatever they are, Summer 1993 is a catalyst for looking back at myself, my formative years, and the relationships that shaped who I am today.
I wonder what I did during the summer when I was six. Probably ran around playing soccer, baked potatoes in bonfires, argued with my dad about not wanting to weed the garden, complained to my mom about my soup’s portion being larger than my little sister’s, while our ice cream stayed identical. It all seems trivial now, but it was significant then. Because each was a decision, a conscious step toward adulthood, a reminder that I was always set as an example for my sister.
This sibling bond is why Summer 1993 is such a powerful film for me. It presents familial love in a meaningful, heartfelt, yet peaceful way: its lazy summery way of being, the innocence of childhood, the life lessons that stay with you for the rest of your life—all wrapped in an unhurried developing narrative; more an observation, or even an impression.
Many reviews of Carla Simón’s film focus on the beautiful cinematography or the stunning work by the young cast, but for me, it was the way the director built a world in which her characters lived at their own pace, explored their personalities, grew as individuals. It’s that world that seeped into my psyche, brought up the long-forgotten feelings of belonging and made me experience what my relationship with my sister might have looked like from the outside. The film’s subtitles helped to understand the finer details, but they weren’t essential to connecting to the story, to the internal microcosm of youth, to the quiet beauty hidden yet present in each frame.
Summer 1993 is a visual poem, a hymn to the childhood I forgot I had, an imperceptible anchor connecting me to my sister and to my roots.
Visit the Oscilloscope Laboratories website for details about where to stream Summer 1993 / Estiu 1993 / Verano 1993 or to arrange screening rights. Follow Summer 1993 on Facebook and Carla Simón on Facebook, Linkedin, Vimeo and her website.
Marina Viscun is a double-Telly winning producer (Big Voice, Journey to Safety), writer (Seeds, Dress Blues), and director (Last Night, Reverse). Her projects through Pingvin Productions focus on socially conscious themes (LGBTQ+, cancer, military family, domestic violence, etc.) often addressed from an uncommon perspective. She is also former Head of Production at Pulse Films US, a US Navy veteran, and a trilingual (Russian, Romanian, English).