Eric Rohmer 1920-2010

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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Dylan
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#1 Post by Dylan » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:08 pm

I just watched "My Night at Maud's," and to be brief, I thought it was wonderful.

Are there any fans here that can recommend where I should go next (his filmography is incredibly vast)? This was my first Rohmer (other than watching half of "Lady and the Duke" a few years ago, which really bored me at the time and was nothing like "Maud's"), and if "Maud's" is representative of his general style than I believe he has the potential of becoming one of my favorite filmmakers.

I await your comments.

Dylan

Ishmael
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#2 Post by Ishmael » Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:38 pm

Dylan, if you liked My Night at Maud's, you'll enjoy just about everything else Rohmer's done. You might want to avoid his period movies at first, but all his modern movies are wonderful. He's a very consistent filmmaker in terms of the quality and style of his work. The amazing thing is that each film you see feels fresh, even though on the surface it looks like just another damn Rohmer talk-fest.

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tartarlamb
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#3 Post by tartarlamb » Sat Feb 25, 2006 12:36 am

Reverse of Dylan's question: The only Rohmers I've seen are Marquise of O and Perceval -- the former I thought was okay but nothing special, and the latter completely baffled me. I've avoided him since. These probably aren't the best representatives of his work, but if I didn't find much to like in them, am I likely to to enjoy any of his other films?

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jorencain
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#4 Post by jorencain » Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:34 am

So far, I have only checked out the R0 Arrow set called "The Eric Rohmer Collection". The price is great, you get 8 films (including 1 period film-"Marquise of O") and they are all fantastic; although I particularly enjoyed "Love In The Afternoon". They're all reviewed at dvdbeaver. Dylan, I suggest you pick it; I really think you'll love it.

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jguitar
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#5 Post by jguitar » Sat Feb 25, 2006 3:29 pm

Ahem, this is my first post to any thread in the forum, so I hope I'm doing this right . . .

The Marquise of O and Perceval are certainly not representative, though they're wonderful in their own right. Perceval is a kind of literalist version of the original text by Chretien de Troyes (adjusting my pedantry hat here). The weird ending, where it suddenly just stops as if the film broke, is a recreation of the manuscript breaking off at that point--other hands finished the story, but Rohmer, former teacher that he is, ends his film with the end of Chretien's contribution.

I'd agree with Ishmael that My Night at Maud's is much more representative. I'd say stick with the Six Moral Tales to start with as I think they're Rohmer's best work. Although, if you have a chance to see Under the Sign of Leo, do.

--jguitar

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#6 Post by kieslowski_67 » Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:32 pm

Dylan wrote:I just watched "My Night at Maud's," and to be brief, I thought it was wonderful.

Are there any fans here that can recommend where I should go next (his filmography is incredibly vast)? Dylan
I watched 20 plus Rohmer films and the following are my favorite:

My night at Maud's
Claire's knees
Pauline at the beach
A Winter's Tale
Chloe in the afternoon
Aviator's wife

loplop
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#7 Post by loplop » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:41 pm

kieslowski_67, is Claire's Knees an extended version of Claire's Knee ?!

Yep, all the above are superb, in particular "A Winter's Tale". In my mind it's up there with the likes of Ordet and Mouchette for the most moving of endings. Another true masterpiece is "The Green Ray"....sensational stuff !

The films of Eric Rohmer hook me in a very very special way, even though in principle they should be fairly boring, due to essentially being just dialogue between characters you wouldn't necessarily be bothered about. But that is so far from the truth...i end up caring so much for them, and these little slices of other people's lives have a profound affect on how i feel about everyone who is a stranger to me. Heart-warming and deeply moving films.

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Michael Kerpan
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#8 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:53 pm

> Another true masterpiece is "The Green Ray"....sensational stuff !

My favorite so far (but still just a Rohmer beginner, comparatively).

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#9 Post by kieslowski_67 » Wed Mar 22, 2006 4:10 pm

loplop wrote: kieslowski_67, is Claire's Knees an extended version of Claire's Knee ?!
Yes. Actually Paul Haggis shot an extended verision named "Jerome and Claire 25 years later" with Felicity Hoffman portraying Jerome and Sandra Bullock playing Claire in her 40s. Although not as thought provoking as his remarkable and astonishing "Crash", it is still one of the 10 best short films made in the history of world cinema. And Ms. Bullock gave a performance on par with Falconetti's in "passion of Joan Arc".
loplop wrote:Another true masterpiece is "The Green Ray"....sensational stuff !

The films of Eric Rohmer hook me in a very very special way, even though in principle they should be fairly boring, due to essentially being just dialogue between characters you wouldn't necessarily be bothered about. But that is so far from the truth...i end up caring so much for them, and these little slices of other people's lives have a profound affect on how i feel about everyone who is a stranger to me. Heart-warming and deeply moving films.
Rohmer never intend to impress his audience through styles and visual effects. He only tells stories that focused on slices of lives of ordinary people. His pictures are talkie. There are no good guys or bad guys in his movies and lots of times his heroes/heroines are pathetic (summer/green ray, Boyfriends and Girlfriends, Claire's knee, etc). However, I routinely feel that I connect strongly to his characters that remind me so much of my friends, some of whom my best friends, and even myself. There are lots of interesting life lessons that can be learned from his works.

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zedz
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#10 Post by zedz » Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:10 pm

kieslowski_67 wrote: Rohmer never intend to impress his audience through styles and visual effects.
Though The Green Ray includes one of the most truly special special effects in all of cinema (maybe in large part because its function is not to impress the audience). And one of the greatest performances.

The UK Arrow set is a must-have: the entire Comedies and Proverbs series plus several other goodies, and it can be found pretty cheap.

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kieslowski_67
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#11 Post by kieslowski_67 » Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:15 pm

zedz wrote:
kieslowski_67 wrote: Rohmer never intend to impress his audience through styles and visual effects.
Though The Green Ray includes one of the most truly special special effects in all of cinema (maybe in large part because its function is not to impress the audience). And one of the greatest performances.

The UK Arrow set is a must-have: the entire Comedies and Proverbs series plus several other goodies, and it can be found pretty cheap.
It's probably better to go with the French Pal 2 box sets (4 seasons, 6 moral tales, comedies and proverbs) if you speak French.

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#12 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:11 pm

How does everyone feel about his latest film, The Triple Agent? Senses of Cinema had an article up and it sounded very interesting.

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#13 Post by brunosh » Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:57 pm

AMB wrote:How does everyone feel about his latest film, The Triple Agent? Senses of Cinema had an article up and it sounded very interesting.
I wouldn't dissuade anyone from seeing Triple Agent but it is very different from the films recommended above (and I certainly agree the recommendations, adding A Summer's Tale). Rohmer's films with a historical setting are more sober and serious and objective than the films with contemporary settings. The latter may be tales with cautionary and revealing intent but they are full of playfulness and humour and often trigger self-identification - when watching these films, I often feel I have been in similar situations and have had similar flirtatious friendships (or wish I had!) and have believed I am been being sensible and serious when I am really being a bit self important and silly. Or perhaps I am just remembering earlier Rohmer films? I can watch, and rewatch, My Night at Maud's and A Winter's Tale.

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zedz
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#14 Post by zedz » Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:10 pm

Ditto. Triple Agent is a strong and accomplished film, but it's a world away from Rohmer's work in a contemporary setting.

All of the period films of Rohmer's I've seen have an extreme formality in their presentation and performances that is quite a shock after the naturalism of his contemporary films. I'm not sure whether Rohmer sees extreme formality in social relations as representative of earlier times (and thus this might be just another kind of naturalism), or whether he's consciously adopting a diametrically opposed style for these films.

I'd recommend The Lady and the Duke as a good entry point for that side of Rohmer's work. It's a pretty amazing film that looks and feels like no other. Getting back to the topic of visual effects, in this film (as in Triple Agent, in a way, with its recurring newsreels) he uses the available visual imagery of the time to recreate the world of his characters. In the case of Lady and the Duke, the visual resource in question is oil paintings, so his characters are digitally integrated into painted landscapes.

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#15 Post by ben d banana » Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:48 am

zedz wrote:I'd recommend The Lady and the Duke as a good entry point for that side of Rohmer's work.
And it's $5.98 at DDD's Sony deletion sale so don't miss it.

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#16 Post by Kinsayder » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:41 am

kieslowski_67 wrote:It's probably better to go with the French Pal 2 box sets (4 seasons, 6 moral tales, comedies and proverbs) if you speak French.
These are on offer at www.cinestore.com at the moment. About half price compared to amazon.fr for the box sets. Good extras (short films and interviews) but absolutely no subtitles.

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#17 Post by David Ehrenstein » Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:30 pm

Le Rayon Vert (aka. Summer ) is an absolute masterpeice. Rohmer captures moods and emotional shifts other filmmakers overlook as"unimportant" and "not dramatic" and makes a meal of them. He's also one of the greatest open-air filmmakers of all time. He's quite meticulous in capturing the looks and feel of places and the way they affect people -- and consequently the viewer.

Among his lesser knosn titles Quatre Adventures de Reinette et Mirabelle is great fun. La Collectionneuse is also quite lovely.

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#18 Post by kieslowski_67 » Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:17 pm

David Ehrenstein wrote:Le Rayon Vert (aka. Summer ) is an absolute masterpeice.
I adored "the green ray" (summer) but my wife feels that the protagonist is way too pathetic for her to truly appreciate the film.

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#19 Post by David Ehrenstein » Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:44 pm

Well that's what's most challenging about the film. In any number of ways she's a complete pain in the neck. But she sticks to her principles, which Rohmer clearly feels is admirable. And for her efforts she wins the vacation experience -- plus a new boyfriend -- of her dreams.

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#20 Post by zedz » Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:51 pm

David Ehrenstein wrote:Well that's what's most challenging about the film. In any number of ways she's a complete pain in the neck. But she sticks to her principles, which Rohmer clearly feels is admirable. And for her efforts she wins the vacation experience -- plus a new boyfriend -- of her dreams.
And even though I wouldn't want to spend my holidays with her, Marie Riviere's Delphine is one of the most vivid, nuanced and fully realised performances on film. That's probably why kieslowski67's wife reacts the way she does. Delphine is the kind of character we'd probably try to avoid in real life, but Rohmer insists that she's worthy of our attention and insists that we watch her. It turns out he's right. In watching the film I'm always amazed at how my own irritation slowly dissolves in the face of Delphine's persistence, and how I come to wholeheartedly share in her epiphany. Truly great, subtle filmmaking.

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#21 Post by loplop » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:53 pm

zedz wrote:
David Ehrenstein wrote:Well that's what's most challenging about the film. In any number of ways she's a complete pain in the neck. But she sticks to her principles, which Rohmer clearly feels is admirable. And for her efforts she wins the vacation experience -- plus a new boyfriend -- of her dreams.
And even though I wouldn't want to spend my holidays with her, Marie Riviere's Delphine is one of the most vivid, nuanced and fully realised performances on film. That's probably why kieslowski67's wife reacts the way she does. Delphine is the kind of character we'd probably try to avoid in real life, but Rohmer insists that she's worthy of our attention and insists that we watch her. It turns out he's right. In watching the film I'm always amazed at how my own irritation slowly dissolves in the face of Delphine's persistence, and how I come to wholeheartedly share in her epiphany. Truly great, subtle filmmaking.
I couldn't agree more. Similarly with the character Felicie in A Tale of Winter. She is fairly irritating at first, and only gradually do i begin to warm to her, mainly due to her un-faltering determination that she would rather wait and wait and wait, in the belief that her daughter's father will re-appear in her life, than to settle down with someone else who could only ever be second-best. This principle is based on French philosopher/mathematician Blaise Pascal's "wager", and if i recall is also discussed by two of the protagonists in "My Night with Maud". These three films are the most "Catholic" of Rohmer's, who was incidentally a Catholic himself.

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#22 Post by ltfontaine » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:56 am

Rohmer's films are filled with obstinate, irritating women and men, some of whom grow more lovable during the films' running time, while others, like Sabine, in Le Beau Mariage, remain . . .

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#23 Post by stroszeck » Fri Mar 31, 2006 6:22 pm

I wonder if there is any type of news concerning Rohmer releases, as was the case with the apparently defunct Six moral tales CC box set. Eric Rohmer, to me, is an absolutely spectacular writer/director and it is a shame that his films are not only available in crappy transfers with pasted-on subtitles (See the atrocious Chloe DVD), but that films such as A Tale of Winter are unavailable in R1 land except on VHS.

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#24 Post by Michael » Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:51 pm

Le Rayon Vert - what an astounding film! I can't forgive myself for letting it slide by for years. Watching it last night, I was completely transfixed by how lovely it was. The woman's performance was wonderful and that was an amazingly precise character development. That was my first Rohmer venture. What should be next for me?

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#25 Post by denti alligator » Sun Apr 01, 2007 1:07 pm

Michael wrote: That was my first Rohmer venture. What should be next for me?
Try The Aviator's Wife.

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