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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
It may seem strange that with all the great Rohmer films to choose from, that this would be my favorite. After all, it is a slow moving film, with a threadbare plot, even by Rohmer standards, and yet completely enchants me. Jeanne, the main character, is an ordinary, middle-class woman, at the start of her career as a teacher, at the start of a relationship with Mathieu (whom we never see) still trying to figure her life out. She recognizes her own shortcomings, she thinks too much, she's not able to confide in others and she is sometimes too accommodating to people. Yet she is a noble character, with great integrity and kindness.
There is a wonderful little scene in Natasha's apartment. Jeanne is grading papers in the dining room as Natasha comes home from school, and in the kitchen, the living and Natasha's bedroom are flowers Jeanne has bought to thank Natasha for her kindness. Natasha, in return, is so touched by Jeanne's act of kindness that she can barely contain herself. This one little scene shows so much. Jeanne's dedication as a teacher, her kindness to people, and flowers to herald in the first days of spring.
As their situations develop, and really there is no reason to speak of the plot, there is a deepening bond as the viewer spends more time with the characters, in simple things, doing simple chores, cutting potatoes, folding clothes, listening to music, and paying attention to what is said, and not said, in their conversations, and at the end of the movie, you seem to have made some very good friends. It's a wonderful thing to be touched by art, but it is more wonderful, I think, to be touched by ordinary life and ordinary people. By not attempting to, Rohmer has made a masterpiece.
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