342-348 Six Moral Tales

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342-348 Six Moral Tales

#1 Post by jorencain » Sat May 06, 2006 11:27 am

Six Moral Tales


The multifaceted, deeply personal dramatic universe of Eric Rohmer has had an effect on cinema unlike any other. One of the founding critics of the history-making Cahiers du cinéma, Rohmer began translating his written manifestos to film in the sixties, standing apart from his New Wave contemporaries, like François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, with his patented brand of gently existential, hyperarticulate character studies set against vivid seasonal landscapes. This near genre unto itself was established with his audacious and wildly influential series “Six Moral Tales.” A succession of jousts between fragile men and the women who tempt them, the “Six Moral Tales” unleashed onto the film world a new voice, one that was at once sexy, philosophical, modern, daring, nonjudgmental, and liberating.

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The Bakery Girl of Monceau


Simple, delicate, and jazzy, the first of the “Moral Tales” shows the stirrings of what would become the Eric Rohmer style: unfussy naturalistic shooting, ironic first-person voice-over, and the image of the “unknowable” woman. A law student (played by producer and future director Barbet Schroeder) with a roving eye and a large appetite stuffs himself full of sugar cookies and pastries daily in order to garner the attentions of the pretty brunette who works in a quaint Paris bakery. But is he truly interested, or is she just a sweet diversion?

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Claire’s Knee


“Why would I tie myself to one woman if I were interested in others?” says Jerôme, even as he plans on marrying a diplomat’s daughter by summer’s end. Before then, Jerôme spends his July at a lakeside boardinghouse nursing crushes on the sixteen-year-old Laura and, more tantalizingly, Laura’s long-legged, blonde stepsister, Claire. Baring her knee on a ladder under a blooming cherry tree, Claire unwittingly instigates Jerôme’s moral crisis and creates both one of French cinema’s most enduring moments and what has become the iconic image of Rohmer’s Moral Tales.

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La collectionneuse


A bombastic, womanizing art dealer and his painter friend go to a seventeenth-century villa on the Riviera for a relaxing summer getaway. But their idyll is disturbed by the presence of the bohemian Haydée, accused of being a “collector” of men. Rohmer’s first color film, La collectionneuse pushes the Moral Tales into new, darker realms. Yet it is also a grand showcase for the clever and delectably ironic battle-of-the-sexes repartee (in a witty script written by Rohmer and the three main actors) and luscious, effortless Néstor Almendros photography that would define the remainder of the series.

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Love in the Afternoon


Though happily married to his adoring wife Hélène, with whom he is expecting a second child, the thoroughly bourgeois business executive Frédéric cannot banish from his mind the multitude of attractive Parisian women who pass him by every day. His Chloé and fantasies remain harmless until Chloe (played by the mesmerizing Zouzou), an audacious, unencumbered old flame, shows up at his office, embodying the first genuine threat to Frédéric’s marriage. The luminous final chapter to Rohmer’s “Moral Tales” is a tender, sobering, and wholly adult affair that leads to perhaps the most overwhelmingly emotional moment in the entire series.

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My Night at Maud’s


In the brilliantly accomplished centerpiece of Rohmer’s “Moral Tales” series, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Jean-Louis, one of the great conflicted figures of sixties cinema. A pious Catholic engineer in his early thirties, he lives by a strict moral code in order to rationalize his world, drowning himself in mathematics and the philosophy of Pascal. After spotting the delicate, blonde Françoise at Mass, he vows to make her his wife, although when he unwittingly spends the night at the apartment of the bold, brunette divorcée Maud, his rigid ethical standards are challenged. A breakout hit in the United States, My Night at Maud’s was one of the most influential and talked-about films of the decade.

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Suzanne’s Career


Bertrand bides his time in a casually hostile and envious friendship with college chum Guillaume. But when ladies’ man Guillaume seems to be making a play for the spirited, independent Suzanne, Bertrand watches bitterly with disapproval and jealousy. With its ragged black-and-white 16 mm photography and strong sense of 1960s Paris, Rohmer’s second “Moral Tale” is a wonderfully evocative portrait of youthful naiveté and the complicated bonds of friendship and romance.

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- New, restored high-definition digital transfers, supervised and approved by director Eric Rohmer
- Exclusive new video conversation between Rohmer and Barbet Schroeder
- Rohmer short films: Presentation, or Charlotte and Her Steak (1951); Nadja in Paris (1964); A Modern Coed (1966); The Curve (1999); and Véronique and Her Dunce (1958)
- “On Pascal” (1965), an episode of the educational TV series En profil dans le texte directed by Rohmer, on the French philosopher Blaise Pascal, the subject of debate in My Night at Maud’s
- Archival interviews with Rohmer, actors Jean-Claude Brialy, Béatrice Romand, Laurence de Monaghan, and Jean-­Louis Trintignant, film critic Jean Douchet, and producer Pierre Cottrell
- Video afterword by filmmaker and writer Neil LaBute
- Original theatrical trailers
- New and improved English subtitle translations
- PLUS: Six Moral Tales, the original stories by Eric Rohmer, and a booklet featuring Rohmer’s landmark essay “For a Talking Cinema,” excerpts from cinematographer Nestor Almendros’s autobiography, and new essays by Geoff Andrew, Ginette Vincendeau, Phillip Lopate, Kent Jones, Molly Haskell, and Armond White

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#2 Post by AK » Sat May 06, 2006 11:30 am

tavernier wrote:According to this weekend's New York Times (Sunday's Arts & Leisure section), Criterion is releasing SIX MORAL TALES in a boxed set on Aug. 15 and SEDUCED AND ABANDONED on Aug. 22.
Wow. Just... wow. Simply astounding. The box-set, according to the article, will have a list price of $99.95.

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#3 Post by peerpee » Sat May 06, 2006 12:09 pm

Ted T.'s probably fallen off his chair... :)

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#4 Post by Cinesimilitude » Sat May 06, 2006 12:13 pm

Moral Tales set comes out 5 days after my Birthday if they hit that release date! I know what I'm asking for.

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#5 Post by gubbelsj » Sat May 06, 2006 12:25 pm

What wonderful news. While the later films may be the finer works, it'll be especially nice to see the original shorts, The Baker of Monceau and Suzanne's Vacation, the last previously available but finally integrated back into the whole. I knew we were being patient for a reason.

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#6 Post by What A Disgrace » Sat May 06, 2006 2:08 pm

Wow, what great news. I've been wanting to see the Rohmer films for a dog's age. I'll buy this blindly.

How much is the Germi film listed for in the article?

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#7 Post by Jeff » Sat May 06, 2006 3:50 pm

peerpee wrote:Ted T.'s probably fallen off his chair... :)
And I suspect that Gary Tooze has spontaneously combusted.

I imagine that the Moral Tales box would include Rohmer's Cinéma, de notre temps episode. Given Barbet Schroeder's relationship with Criterion, they will probably include an interview or introduction from him too.

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#8 Post by Anthony » Sat May 06, 2006 4:06 pm

This is GREAT news. I've been waiting for a good transfer of Rohmer's Six Moral Tales in Region 1 for a while now. I Can't wait.

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#9 Post by Ted Todorov » Sat May 06, 2006 4:08 pm

peerpee wrote:Ted T.'s probably fallen off his chair... :)
No, but I scared my girlfriend, yelling so loudly :)

I just saw it in the paper -- I haven't been on-line -- I was too busy reading The Man Who Fell To Earth -- a spectacular Criterion extra -- I hope they do this with many future releases (6 Moral Tales is certainly a candidate, as Rohmer did them in book form).

If Criterion release a Rivette box, then I will fall off my chair -- I'd hate to disappoint Nick :D

Happy day!

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#10 Post by Ted Todorov » Sat May 06, 2006 4:10 pm

Jeff wrote:I imagine that the Moral Tales box would include Rohmer's Cinéma, de notre temps episode. Given Barbet Schroeder's relationship with Criterion, they will probably include an interview or introduction from him too.
Shorts, please, shorts!

Rohmer has them in abundance, many having made it to the UK & French DVD releases. Some are great...

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#11 Post by Ted Todorov » Sat May 06, 2006 5:22 pm

denti alligator wrote:This is wonderful news. Finalement!

Now we just need the Tales of Four Seasons in a box! Wouldn't that be the icing on the cake...
Unfortunately MGM (now Sony) has Tale of Springtime as well as Pauline at the Beach so neither a Four Seasons box nor a Comedies and Proverbs box would appear to be possible. However, I sure hope Criterion just does a "Every Rohmer film we could get the rights to from Wellspring or whoever" box

I'd kill for HD transfers of The Aviator's Wife and ten other Rohmer films...

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#12 Post by thethirdman » Sat May 06, 2006 7:32 pm

I picked up four of the Moral Tales used two weeks ago, along with Perceval, at a Suncoast that was going out of business. I could not resist picking them up for a little over a dollar a piece. I will gladly double dip in favor a Criterion box set. The transfers on the Fox Lorber versions definitely left and a lot to be desired. All of the transfers seemed washed out and excessively speckled.

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#13 Post by BertoltNietzsche » Sat May 06, 2006 9:06 pm

I didn't say it out loud before, but I was one of them nit-pickers who weren't satisfied with this year's criterion releases (I think it all depends on whether you are a Malle man or not). Now I am happier than ever.

For anybody who was wondering, UK arrowfilms 8 disc Rohmer set (great set for its money) contains only one of the 6 moral tales (Chloe in the Afternoon); so this Criterion set is a well deserved non-redundant release.

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#14 Post by Matt » Sat May 06, 2006 11:39 pm

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#15 Post by GringoTex » Sun May 07, 2006 1:00 am

souvenir wrote: There's no getting around the element of boredom that hangs over even Mr. Rohmer's best films.
Another NY Times Reviewer regurgitates a deadline-saving google search. But that's what the NYT does- hire good writers and pay them to learn their subject on the fly.

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#16 Post by Mathieu » Sun May 07, 2006 8:59 pm

The Six Moral Tales Boxset will include these shorts-

Véronique et son cancre (1958)
Présentation ou Charlotte et son steak (1960)
Nadja à Paris (1964)
Entretien sur Pascal (1965)
Une étudiante d'aujourd'hui (1966)
La Cambrure (1999) Directed by Edwige Shaki

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#17 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Mon May 08, 2006 1:24 pm

Did the NYT call Rohmer "insufferable"? :shock: I may have to disagree.

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#18 Post by Donald Trampoline » Mon May 08, 2006 1:57 pm

Wow, this is pretty damn exciting! Would love to see that many Godard or Resnais shorts presented together.

By the way, above someone mentioned the Moral Tales are on Netflix, and I just wanted to mention that so are the Comedies and Proverbes, which I had a great time going through. The Fox Lorbers left a little something to be desired, but not as much as you would think since the films originate on 16mm (except for Pauline at the Beach I believe, which is on MGM DVD on Netflix). Obviously if you have access to the UK release it's probably better, but I got immense satisfaction out of renting the Comedies and Proverbes from Netflix mainly because the films are so excellent. I certainly consider the quality acceptable for a rental.

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#19 Post by Gigi M. » Mon May 08, 2006 3:57 pm

Confirmed in this month's newsletter:
Neil LaBute has directed five films, including In the Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors, and Nurse Betty. He has contributed supplemental interviews to two Criterion DVD editions: Mike Leigh's Naked and Eric Rohmer's Love in the Afternoon, the latter part of our upcoming deluxe box-set edition of Rohmer's Six Moral Tales.

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#20 Post by kieslowski_67 » Tue May 09, 2006 11:11 am

This should be a lovely 5D9 box set. They can loop the first 3 films onto one DVD9 disc, and put all special features onto another D9 disc.

Anyway, I will grab the box set no matter what. I just hope that the Criterion transfers should trump all R2 releases so that I can toss them into trash cans.

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#21 Post by Morbii » Wed May 10, 2006 2:23 am

Amazing, a release without bitching!

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#22 Post by Narshty » Wed May 10, 2006 7:40 am

What about Yi Yi? Everyone seemed to like that one.

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#23 Post by What A Disgrace » Wed May 10, 2006 8:27 am

Narshty wrote:What about Yi Yi? Everyone seemed to like that one.
I seem to remember it being "Too expensive!" and "Not as good as teh Kurosawa!" I'm excited about it, anyway.

The Rohmer set has a lovely pricetag, on the other hand, and I'm sure there will be plenty of Kurosawa this autumn.

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#24 Post by kieslowski_67 » Wed May 10, 2006 11:52 am

Narshty wrote:What about Yi Yi? Everyone seemed to like that one.
"Yi Yi" is easily one of the top 10 films of the new decade, but considering the treatment that Rohmer films got in R1 DVD releases, the Criterion box set of the crown and jewel of Rohmer's achievement has to be considered a major milestone for Criterion.

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#25 Post by Gigi M. » Wed May 10, 2006 11:57 am

Morbii wrote:Amazing, a release without bitching!
I wonder, who's still bitching at the whole year. This set and so many other great releases makes 06 an incredible year for Criterion in my opinion.

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