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A Tale of Springtime (1990)

Conte de printemps (original title)
Simple conversations engender complicated human interactions. Jeanne is open and even-tempered, a philosophy teacher at a lycée. Her fiancé is away and she doesn't want to stay at his messy... See full summary »




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Complete credited cast:
Anne Teyssèdre ...
Hugues Quester ...
Florence Darel ...
Eloïse Bennett ...
Sophie Robin ...
Marc Lelou ...
François Lamore ...


Simple conversations engender complicated human interactions. Jeanne is open and even-tempered, a philosophy teacher at a lycée. Her fiancé is away and she doesn't want to stay at his messy flat; she's loaned hers to a cousin, so she accepts the invitation of Natasha, a music student whom she meets at a party, to sleep in her father Igor's bedroom because he's always with his young girlfriend, Eve. Natasha tells Jeanne a story of a missing necklace and her suspicions of Eve. They all meet at dinner, then again at Igor's country house. Is Natasha scheming to get Igor and Jeanne together alone? Once alone, what determines how they choose to act? And the necklace, what of it? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 April 1990 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Tale of Springtime  »

Box Office


$201,332 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First installment of the "Tales of Four Seasons" series. See more »


Igor: You're not interested in the present situation?
See more »


Followed by Autumn Tale (1998) See more »


les Chants de l'aube
Written by Robert Schumann
Performed by Florence Darel
See more »

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User Reviews

A Tale of Naptime (just kidding)
23 December 2011 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Artistic tastes are entirely subjective, so I'll start by mentioning some of my favourite directors, and if they're your faves too, then read on. Otherwise, just skip my entire review.

Robert Bresson, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Akira Kurosawa, Bela Tarr, Wim Wenders. And when he's not annoying the living crap out of me, I really like Werner Herzog.

I neither liked nor disliked "Tale of Springtime" but was left feeling unfulfilled. Other reviewers have criticized this film for being "boring", "slow" and "plotless". You won't hear that from me. On the contrary, I thought the mood and pacing were perfect. The big problem: it never delivered anything worth justifying the effort of watching. And I don't mean car chases and spaceships; I mean something of philosophical value.

This movie drew me in with literary and philosophical teasers implying that the film would attack the grand questions of existence. It begins with an air of mystery (no dialogue for the first 4 minutes) and a teaser about some dark unknown truth about the main character, a philosophy professor; when she finally speaks, she muses about how an invisible person--the bearer of Plato's ring of Gyges--would probably be struggling to piece together the unusual events surrounding her life. We are repeatedly given hints of her guarded secret love-life (a lover's apartment which she is afraid to visit), her violent temper which she repeatedly warns people about, discussions of Plato, Kant, transcendentalism, anything & everything indicating that some substance would follow.

I felt totally cheated upon slowly realizing that the protagonist is absolutely average, her life uneventful, and the only grand philosophical question attacked is whether she should kiss her friend's father. Boo. Note to filmmakers: do NOT allude to Plato's ring of Gyges (several times) unless you plan to back it up! That's like opening a film with Beethoven's 7th Symphony, then turning the rest of the film into a campy scifi flick about sex in the 22nd century. Oh wait, John Boorman actually did that in "Zardoz".

I would contrast this film against Bela Tarr's "Werckmeister Harmonies" which, similarly, follows the life of a mysterious lone protagonist & forces us to unravel his life in cryptic vignettes. As in Tale of Springtime, in Werckmeister we also get teasing doses of philosophy to pique our interest. The difference being in Werckmeister the philosophy is profound, pervasive and relevant to the story and setting, and, though painfully slow at times, Werckmeister gives the audience a powerful thought to chew on after the credits roll.

This is the third Rohmer film I've seen, and I think I have to conclude that he's not for me. Elements of this film are like Kieslowski whom I adore, but this film doesn't pack the same haunting depth as, say, "Decalogue" or "Trois Couleurs". Elements of this film are like Wim Wenders whom I also adore, but here we lack the satisfying payoff and poetic closure like in "Paris, Texas", "End of Violence" or "Don't Come Knocking". In short, this film has all the style & art of Kieslowski, Wenders & the aforementioned master directors, but none of the guts.

By the way, I actually liked "Zardoz"!

9 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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