Written by: Goodtime Charlie, Special to CC2K
Excellent, But–WARNING–Super Intellectual, Dense & Wordy
My Night at Maud’s (1970)—A dense intellectual feast, centering mostly on one man’s love for the wisdom of Pascal. Like most Rohmer movies, this one is thin on plot, but this is even more guilty of that than the others. If you don’t like watching people sit in chairs and talk endlessly about their philosophies on life and love, this one is not for you. If you enjoy philosophy and don’t mind a slow, talky film, this one will have you on your knees by the end, shouting, “Just FUCK HER ALREADY!” at your TV–I don’t care how timid you are. Trust me.
Skip Unless You’re Curious or a Completist
Bakery Girl of Monceau (1963)—A short. Somewhat interesting, but not exceptional.
Suzanne’s Career (1963)—Also a short. Slightly more interesting than Bakery Girl, a bit more raw; exposes the ruthlessness men are capable of when chasing women.
Full Moon in Paris (1984)—- Again a whiny female lead who wants things her way, no matter what. Fresh out of design school, she relishes her freedom and is not ready to be embalmed in the suburbs with her older, doting boyfriend. She maintains a pied-a-terre in the city so she can dance all night with her friends and not have to worry about the train schedule back out to bumble. But what to do when men pursue her and she must make a choice? As is the case so frequently in a Rohmer movie, though usually only with the male leads, she winds up alone in the end, due to her inability to make the wise choice at the right time.
Probably my least favorite of Rohmer’s films. The lead, although very appealing physically, was a bit too whiny for my taste. Not only that, but it was too easy to agree with her decision to not spend much time with her boyfriend–he was a brutish bore who smothered her with his love. He didn’t seem to have any good qualities, since even his love for her got chalked up in the negative category.
It was satisfying to see her get what she deserved in the end, and the movie certainly seemed a faithful representation of the slow dissolution of a doomed relationship, but that doesn’t mean it makes for good cinema. A misstep for sure.
Chloe in the Afternoon (aka Love in the Afternoon) (1972)—Aside from a beautiful opening montage of life on the streets in Paris, and a few similar interludes throughout, this is only a good film. After his previous three efforts, as well as the promise of the premise, I found it disappointing. Whereas the failure of his other movies to involve much in the way of a plot, or a satisfying ending, has never bothered me before, this time it did–this time I had trouble believing it. The supporting female characters are fascinating, but I found the lead terribly dull. I would skip this one, unless you’ve already watched his best and are curious about this one.
Nadja in Paris (1964) / A Modern Coed (1966) (shorts) — Nothing remarkable.
A Good Marriage (1982)——-Disappointing. The female protagonist is wholly unlikable. There is no shred of emotion in the entire movie. Everyone seems to be reading from a script, rather than reacting naturally. It wasn’t very long, but it seemed to drag on forever, and get nowhere. The last minute is the only part of the movie I enjoyed; it seemed to belong to a different movie (although the music was the same as during the opening credits, where it was also out of place, considering the movie). AVOID.
Didn’t Bother to See, Probably Never Will, You Should Do the Same
Triple Agent (2004)
The Lady and the Duke (2001)
The Romance of Astrea and Celadon (2007)
Sadly Unavailable on DVD
Perceval (1978) — I had this one on my Netflix queue, only to be later informed it is unavailable. Damn! Another period piece, and I’ve read it’s a good one.
Rendezvous in Paris (1995)
A Tale of Winter (1992)
Autumn Tale (1998)
Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle (1987) — Supposedly not so great, but I’m sure there is something redemptive in at least one of these four tales. Then again, maybe not. Sometimes the chemistry works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Unavailable on DVD, Probably for the Best
The Tree, the Mayor, and the Mediatheque (1993)
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