It’s August, which means it’s hot, and if you’re not spending time in an actual pool, you can beat the heat with pool movies. Fortunately, there are some excellent ones to offer.
The first is “La Piscine” (1969), also known as “The Swimming Pool”, the most recent of the swimming pool films. Everything revolves around a cool blue pool in this intimate intimate drama from director Jacques Derét. French superstars Romy Schneider and Alain Delon star as a couple whose sex-filled vacation in the south of France is disrupted by her ex (Maurice Ronet) and his daughter (Jane Birkin), and tensions simmer around a backyard pool until they explode. Stream it on Criterion tout de suite.
Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino made his own take on “La Piscine” with 2015’s “A Bigger Splash,” starring Tilda Swinton and Mathias Schoenaerts as the couple, and Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson as vacationing losers, this time on an island Sardinia. The atmosphere of rest, heated by the sun, is off the charts. Rent on all digital platforms.
Guadagnino also directed another instant classic European holiday film with the 2017 romantic sensation Call Me By Your Name , based on the novel by Andre Aciman. It’s set in Crema, Italy, so don’t expect crystal-clear chlorinated pools, but ancient watering holes that cool off the hot and heavy action at the heart of the film. Stream it on Prime Video or rent it on other platforms.
Before La Piscine, there was Burt Lancaster in The Swimmer, Frank Perry’s 1968 exploration of the dark underbelly of suburban life, based on a story by John Cheever of New York. Lancaster stars as Ned in an odyssey through all the backyard swimming pools in his affluent Connecticut suburb. Rent on all digital platforms.