2 items from 2010
Idiosyncratic French film-maker who was a leading figure in the cinema of the postwar new wave
In Arthur Penn's intelligently unconventional private eye thriller Night Moves (1975), Gene Hackman's hero – who finds the mystery he faces as unfathomable as his personal relationships – is asked by his wife whether he wants to go to an Eric Rohmer movie. "I don't think so," he says. "I saw a Rohmer film once. It was kind of like watching paint dry."
Behind that exchange lies a jab at Hollywood's mistrust of any film-maker, especially a French one, who neglects plot and action in favour of cerebral exploration, metaphysical conceit and moral nuance. The Dream Factory, after all, had proved through trial and error that cinema is cinema, literature is literature, and the twain shall meet only provided the images rule, not the words.
Of the major American film-makers, perhaps only Joseph Mankiewicz allowed his scripts, »
- Ronald Bergan
As a repeatedly self-confessed french cinema enthusiast it embarrasses me to admit this but I'm relatively unfamiliar with Eric Rohmer's filmography. I wanted to note his passing here anyway because he's such an icon of the French New Wave. Rohmer was just a few months shy of his 90th birthday when he died earlier today in Paris.
Though I couldn't quite get in synch with Rohmer's recent work (The Lady and the Duke and his last feature Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon were the most recent I had seen and both escaped me ...though I adored the finale of the latter), I was quite fond of Pauline à la Plage (Pauline at the Beach) back in the day. It was one of the first handful of French films I sought on on VHS in the late 80s when I decided that French cinema was for me. Merci.
- NATHANIEL R
2 items from 2010
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