I was sad to hear of the passing of the French new-wave filmmaker, Eric Rohmer on January 11, 2010. Eric’s films were unique and I always liked the way he stubbornly stayed true to the integrity of his own style and creativity. He felt films should be one man’s vision and thought soundtracks were an unnecessary distraction. All of his films were character driven (always my preference) – a long lovely conversation, usually between two people. I love how his characters are intelligent but also full of flaws and contradictions, which make them real and identifiable. From an American prospective, Eric’s films would be considered “Independent” in every sense of the word. He made collections of films with – Six Moral Tales, Comedies & Proverbs and Tales of the Four Seasons.
My favorite film is “A Winter’s Tale” from the four seasons. It alludes to and also briefly features Shakespeare’s play and features one of his beautifully flawed characters named, Felicie. After meeting and falling in love with Charles on vacation, she accidentally writes her address incorrectly, which makes it impossible for him to find her. Returning home, she finds herself pregnant and unable to reconnect with her daughter’s father.
Although Felicie quickly attracts two very different men into her life (Maxence & Loic) who want to marry her, she keeps putting them off, sure that somehow fate will intervene for her and bring Charles back into her life. Of course, they find the notion childish as does everyone else in her life but she continues to frustrate and confuse them with her determination to hold out for the man she believes is the love of her life.
One of the best scenes comes when she asks Loic (a Catholic) to go to church and pray for her “as she would wish” – opening up the question of the depth of ‘his’ love for her (will he pray for his desire or hers?).
I’m grateful that Eric made his own style of films and stayed true to the artistic vision that he developed and never lost sight of.
Top pic: French Filmmaker, Screenwriter, and Author, Eric Rohmer
Pics 2 & 3: Charlotte Very (Felicie) & Frederic van den Driessche (Charles)
Pic 4: Charlotte Very & Herve Furic (Loic) – 2,3, & 4 from Eric Rohmer’s “Conte d’Hiver” 1992