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ÉRIC ROHMER & HIS LEGACY

by Kenji
ÉRIC ROHMER & HIS LEGACY by Kenji
Click on the green. The Green Ray “The most thematically and stylistically consistent investigator of human desire in cinema history” (Geoff Andrew) — My favourites: The Green Ray Claire’s Knee My Night with Maud My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. Rohmer was so consistent that there’s not much to choose between the rest of the features- Le Signe du Lion the first. The list, including various less well known shorts, is in chronological order. His final film was The Romance of Astrée and Celadon; after that i’ve listed tributes and films by other directors with Rohmeresque qualities, including Charlotte and Veronique which he scripted for… Read more

Click on the green. The Green Ray

The most thematically and stylistically consistent investigator of human desire in cinema history” (Geoff Andrew)

My favourites:

The Green Ray
Claire’s Knee
My Night with Maud
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend.

Rohmer was so consistent that there’s not much to choose between the rest of the features- Le Signe du Lion the first. The list, including various less well known shorts, is in chronological order. His final film was The Romance of Astrée and Celadon; after that i’ve listed tributes and films by other directors with Rohmeresque qualities, including Charlotte and Veronique which he scripted for Godard.

Rohmer was as dextrous as an expert spider, weaving tales as light as gossamer. As a film-maker he was also a gardener, a lover of nature, a careful tender of young plants, yet happy to allow the freedom to grow and wander too (improvisation in The Green Ray adds to its natural yet magical reality); master of colour and the seasons, and in summer especially the results are glorious.

A philosopher, muser on fate, free will, temptation and moral choices, ever youthful in spirit, eager to follow his own path and yet able to spring daring surprises to the end. Who else in France these days would have shown the Revolution from the point of view of the Aristocrats? Which film is like Romance of Astrea and Celadon, a tale of young love’s misunderstandings in the time of the druids, seen from the pastoral courtly perspective of a 16th century novelist? Here we have a combination of his trademark young relationships and something of the stylisation of his occasional period films- he appears as much at ease with ages of enlightenment, chivalry and Limbourg brothers’ paintings, e.g here as the modern era.

A Catholic, looking down now from a better place. A gallant courtly knight, with a romantic soul to match his intellect and a healthy interest in and respect for women; they are worth getting to know and care about. A lover of the sensuous too; more eroticism in a knee being caressed than any amount of Hollywood grunting and grandstanding. As Gilbert Adair has pointed out, his scripts are much more sophisticated than his characters’ dialogue. And as Geoff Andrew says, Rohmer “exposes the frailty of intention and the erroneous vanity of self-image”. His characters have their foibles- their proclamations and babbling often undercut by their actions or the reality we know better than they- but few are judged harshly, as his observational style has an underlying warmth.

Rohmer’s films are more cinematic than often credited- the dialogue an extra layer or counterpoint to what he shows visually, as well as a vehicle for the expression of ideas. And he was acutely attuned to the sounds of nature and the street, to the small gestures, glances and details in relationships. See his films alongside Guerin’s In the City of Sylvia which has been widely praised as pure and cinematic, and which even before i saw The Baker Girl of Monceau, i could see was indebted to Rohmer.

A modest man, of wide-ranging abilities (novelist and teacher too), content not to broadcast himself with an ego-boosting megaphone, but quietly- so quietly that apparently his own mother was unaware he was a world famous director (he did change his name for that role). In his 1951 short Charlotte et son Steak, not released till 1960, you can see the New Wave coming. He was the mature quiet man of the Nouvelle Vague, and before that a crucial figure in the history of film criticism, editor of the still influential Cahiers du Cinéma as it challenged the world order.

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My Night at Maud’s

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Rohmer’s 10 favourite films in 1962:

True Heart Susie
The General
Sunrise
Rules of the Game
Ivan the Terrible
Voyage to Italy
Red River
Vertigo
Pickpocket
La Pyramide Humaine
—~

SENSES OF CINEMA ARTICLE

MUBI INTERVIEW WITH MARIE RIVIERE, ON THE GREEN RAY

The Romance of Astrea and Celadon

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Kuxa Kanema has conducted a June 2013 poll of mubi users’ Rohmer favourites, and these were the results:

1.My Night at Maud’s 103 pts
2.Claire’s Knee, 83
3.The Green Ray, 73
4.La Collectionneuse, 53
5.Love In the Afternoon, 51
6=.Pauline At the Beach, 47
The Aviator’s Wife, 47
8. My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, 29
9.Perceval Le Gallois, 25
10,Marquise of O, 24
+
The Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle, 23
An Autumn Tale, 19
A Summer’s Tale, 18
A Winter’s tale, 18
The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, 15
The Triple Agent, 14
Full Moon In Paris, 13
Suzanne’s Career, 11
A Tale of Springtime, 10
The Bakery Girl of Monceau, 9
Rendez-vous In Paris, 7
The Tree, The Mayor and the Mediatheque, 4
The Good Marriage, 4
Lady and the Duke, 3
Le Signe du Lion, 2
Nadja in Paris, 1

Claire’s Knee

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