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Eric Rohmer (1920-2010)

Eric Rohmer (1920-2010)

I love Eric Rohmer’s films. Yes, even The Lady and The Duke and its aristocratic distrust of the common man. Rohmer always stood apart from the Nouvelle Vague for me, more of a problematic cousin to the emotional honesty of Truffaut or the intellectual cool of Godard than a part of their fraternity. His movies are, for me, one of the only exceptions to the old rule of “show don’t tell”, primarily because of the dissonance between what his characters say and what is really going on in their hearts. Rohmer’s films are the literal definition of irony without ever feeling ironic, and it was his gift to understand what people mean when they say what they say. Veiled intentions, hurt feelings; Rohmer is always aware of his character’s true emotions, even when they aren’t. It is this awareness, always passed along to the audience through beautiful, long takes that allow his actors to undermine the text of the dialogue and create the text of the film, that define Rohmer’s cinema.

In recent years, primarily thanks to Criterion’s re-relelase of Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales in a beautiful deluxe edition DVD boxset, Rohmer’s early films, lovely movies all, have been rediscovered and much was made of his important role in shaping the current state of international cinema. I’m happy he lived to read those notices and, knowing what words meant to him as an artist, I hope he enjoyed the praise. Now that he is gone, I do feel that a certain type of filmmaking may have gone with him; a cinema that eschews the gadgetry and technical tricks of the trade in favor of people, their behaviors and their struggle with their feelings. Like I said, I love his movies. I will miss his work and was hoping for another film from him soon. Alas.

The Opening Sequence of Eric Rohmer’s La Collectionneuse

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