Summer Hours Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jeremie Renier, Edith Scob Director: Olivier Assayas In Olivier Assayas' latest film he leaves behind the style-over-substance approach of his last film, Boarding Gate, and returns closer to home. This is a nuanced family drama involving three siblings whose aloofness towards each other is brought into sharp focus when their mother dies, leaving a sizeable inheritance and disagreements over how to use it. There's a distinct lack of kitchen-sink melodrama or fancy narrative jumps. It's a blessing, given how these devices undermined many films by Assayas' peers this year, such as Arnaud Desplechin's A Christmas Tale and Cedric Klapisch's Paris. Summer Hours' strength is in its understated charm. In fact, it's nearly a traditional three-act play, starting with the family gathering, then the matriarch's death and its fallout, and finally a coda about how the next generation copes with their ancestors' history being sold. The film is driven mainly by the filmmaker's detailed mise-en-scene and curt dialogue, but credit is also due to the cast for gently bringing out the differences ingrained in their characters since they moved away from the French country mansion in which their mother (Edith Scob) raised them. Charles Berling plays Frederic, an academic fielding criticism of his new book on the futility of managed market economies; Juliette Binoche's Adrienne is a Japan-based designer whose work is sold in US department stores; Jeremie (Jeremie Renier, below left with Binoche and Berling) works in Shanghai as a technical supervisor for sports shoe factories and is fretting over a promotion which entails a permanent move to China. It's clear Assayas intends to generate discussion about the forces of global capitalism through his characters' experiences, something enhanced further by the discussion about the value of the objets d'art bestowed on the siblings. Yet the intensity remains bubbling underneath the surface, and that's probably what makes Summer Hours good viewing. Extras: Interviews with Assayas and Renier.