Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Eric Rohmer

Eric Rohmer is one of those names that follows you around like a shadow when you're into film. Due to his constant persistence, I recently stopped and paid attention to Rohmer's work starting with Le Rayon Vert (1986) (The Green Ray). I thought of him as a French Woody Allen or Mike Leigh & if you’re a fan of those two and can be bothered with subtitles (don't get me started on people who "can't read and watch a film at the same time") then you will love Eric Rohmer. I'm now rapidly working my way through the peaks and troughs of his career. Saying that though his troughs don't dip too low & the films that perhaps didn't maintain my interest are still very much worth a watch.

It's very hard to describe what makes Rohmer's work so compelling. The Comedies de Proverbs that I have viewed so far are all character driven and more than often feature a female protagonist who's out of luck with men and trying to find her place in the world. Rohmer knows women well (Le Beau Mariage (1982)) and directs them empathetically and without the tiniest hint of misogyny. His men however, generally have a brain somewhere in the groin region (L’Amour L’Apres-midi (1972)). Even though the wardrobe, soundtrack and decor have dated badly, the largely improvised dialogue flows like a fresh water tap and is as relevant today as it was when electric-blue batwing jumpers were de rigueur. Below is a list of Rohmer shaped recommendations for you to peruse, all of which are guaranteed to make you want to pack your bags and head for the romantic land of Baguettes and Naf Naf.  The director died in 2010 aged 89 but his large body of work will continue to influence film makers and film lovers (me) forever and ever, Amen.
Le Rayon Vert (1986)
Pauline a la Plage (1983)
Le Beau Mariage (1982)
La Femme de L'Aviateur (1981)
Le Nuits des Pleine Lune (1984)
L'Ami de Mon Amie (1987)

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