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12 Nostalgic European Summer Movies

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

At our art studio, we love to blog about creative topics and share our favorite films. This week, we’ve put together a list of 11 nostalgic European summer movies that are perfect for summertime viewing. From classic Italian comedies to French dramas, these films capture the spirit of summer and the beauty of Europe. Whether you’re looking for a fun night in or a movie to watch with friends, these films will take you back in time and make you feel like you’re spending a summer in Europe


1. Respiro (2002)

"Grazia lives on an island off the cost of Italy with her husband, Pietro and their three children. Grazia has a reputation in their small fishing village for her manic behavior, but her family stands by her. After Grazia releases all the dogs in the local kennel, however, Pietro is pressured to institutionalize his wife. He refuses, but Grazia runs away anyway, choosing to hide in a cave near the sea." Rotten Tomatoes


2. The Hand Of God (2021)

"From Academy Award-winning writer and director Paolo Sorrentino (Il Divo, The Great Beauty, The Young Pope) comes the story of a boy, Fabietto Schisa, set in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s. The Hand of God is a story full of unexpected joys, such as the arrival of football legend Diego Maradona, and an equally unexpected tragedy. Fate plays its part, joy and tragedy intertwine, and Fabietto's future is set in motion. Sorrentino returns to his hometown to tell his most personal story, a tale of fate and family, sports and cinema, love and loss." Rotten Tomatoes


3. Never On Sunday (1960)

"Free spirit and prostitute Ilya (Melina Mercouri) lives in a Greek port city. Open and amiable, she makes friends often and easily. She encounters Homer Thrace (Jules Dassin), a vacationing American who is obsessed with ancient Greek culture. Homer feels that modern Greece is a shadow of its former self, and he believes that Ilya is a prime example of contemporary decadence. He makes it his goal to amend Ilya's easygoing ways, but she has stronger principles than Homer expected." Rotten Tomatoes


4. With Children at the Seaside (1972)

"A film about the funny adventures of a group of children, spending their holidays at the seaside." IMDb A Bulgarian summer classic! Lines from this movie are pop culture classic.


5. Swept Away (1974)

"Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Mediterranean, Swept Away is Lina Wertmuller's most famous and controversial film about sex, love and politics. On an elegant yacht cruising off the coast of Sardinia, Raffaella (Mariangela Melato), a rich and stunning capitalist, enjoys tormenting Gennarino (Giancarlo Giannini), a Communist sailor. Fate weaves a different scenario and roles become reversed when the two find themselves stranded together on a deserted island. Raffaella must submit to Gennarino in order to survive, which culminates in a dramatic climax when they are rescued. They must determine if their love can survive the harsh realities of civilization." Apple TV


6. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

"Americans Vicky and Cristina arrive in Spain for a summer vacation at a friend's Barcelona home. Visiting an art gallery, they meet seductive painter Juan Antonio, who invites them for a weekend of food, art and sex. Sparks really ignite when his fiery former lover arrives on the scene, making for a very crowded house." Rotten Tomatoes


7. The Lost Daughter (2021)

"Leda is a middle-aged divorcee devoted to her work as an English teacher and to her two children. When her daughters leave home to be with their father in Canada, Leda anticipates a period of loneliness and longing. Instead, slightly embarrassed by the sensation, she feels liberated, as if her life has become lighter, easier. She decides to take a holiday by the sea, in a small coastal town in Greece. But after a few days of calm and quiet, things take a menacing turn. Leda encounters a family whose brash presence proves unsettling, at times even threatening. When a small, seemingly meaningless event occurs, Leda is overwhelmed by memories of the difficult, unconventional choices she made as a mother and their consequences for herself and her family. The seemingly serene tale of a woman's pleasant rediscovery of herself soon becomes the story of a ferocious confrontation with an unsettled past." IMDb


8. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

"It's the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student who's working as an intern for Elio's father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever." Rotten Tomatoes


9. Black Cat, White Cat (1998)

"Matko is a small time hustler, living by the river Danube with his 17 year old son Zare. After a failed business deal he owes money to the much more successful gangster Dadan. Dadan has a sister, Afrodita, that he desperately wants to see get married so they strike a deal: Zare is to marry her. But none of the two care much for an arranged marriage: Zare is in love with Ida, Afrodita is waiting for the man of her dreams." IMDb


10. Sex and Lucia (2001)

"Lucia is a waitress who lives and works in Madrid. After what she believes to be the loss of her boyfriend, the tortured writer Lorenzo, she flees to a secluded island that he had often told her about. There she meets Carlos and Elena, who have also run away to the island to escape personal tragedy. Unbeknownst to them, all three have a connection to Lorenzo. Elena met him many years ago on that same island and enjoyed beautiful, anonymous lovemaking with him in the sea by the light of a full moon. 9 months later, Elena gave birth to Luna, but never managed to find Lorenzo. Carlos was the stepfather of Belen, who disappeared after she unwittingly caused the death of Luna. As she hears more about the past of her two new housemates, Lucia is reminded of the book Lorenzo was writing, a tale about a journey into a dark, deep past that brought on his depression. Soon, the lines between fact and fiction begin to fall apart." IMDb


11. Murina (2021)

"Tensions rise between restless teenager Julija and her oppressive father Ante when an old family friend arrives at their Croatian island home. As Ante attempts to broker a life-changing deal, their tranquil yet isolated existence leaves Julija wanting more from this influential visitor, who provides a taste of liberation over a weekend laid bare to desire and violence." Rotten Tomatoes



12. Carmen (2022)

In a small Mediterranean village, Carmen has looked after her brother, the local priest, for her entire life. When the Church abandons Carmen, she is mistaken for the new priest. Carmen begins to see the world, and herself, in a new light. (IMBD)



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