on the path…Rohmer

Video hut is next door to Trader Joes and has a great Criterion selection. All this month I’ve been fascinated with Eric Rohmer. I do this every once in a while. I’ll choose a movie just for the design of it’s cover, or if the blurb on the back seems interesting. I chose Eric Rohmer’s ‘Bakery Girl of Monceau’ for these reasons AND because it was a safe bet. It was only 23 minutes long.

Turns out I became very taken with it; even though it was subtitled and most of the dialog was narrarated. I ended up watching it 3 or 4 times

This film was the first in a series of 6 moral tales. All about different relationship facets between men and women. I finshed the 6th film tonight (actually my 2nd time to watch it). What I noticed is that Rohmer’s characters don’t suffer so much from Cinderella complexes and Machaivellian behavoir as American film characters do. The flaws of Rohmer’s men and women are different somehow. They seem more honest. And in some cases unapologetic for those flaws. They present themselves in being unaplogetic without being conceited yet find their dignity within their moral circumstances. Rohmer doesn’t just leave it there though he presents both sides of the moral circumstance and then delves into the gray area.

I guess I’m just now discovering this film maker because as an American, I have gotten used to fast & simple character development as well as predictable character flaws. Rohmer somehow gets to explore these area more like a jeweler examines a gemstone.

I also found intereting that even though these films take place in France from 1964 through 1972, they explore some of the same aspects about relationships that are explored today; despite that some of the gender archetypes are more defined in Rohmer’s films. Men are self assured but fumble a lot, and women are independent; when they want to be.

After watching these 6 films I ask myself if it would’ve been easier navigating these issues during that time frame? Then I remember they’re just movies that explore the human endeavor.

Maybe I take for granted now what people had to work through in their relationships back then. Maybe that’s why my own past relationships lasted as long as they did?
Maybe my generation’s task is to do the same for the next generation?
Maybe a young film maker will pick up where Rohmer left off?

Thanks for checking in

Stephen A. Thomas

2 Responses to “on the path…Rohmer”

  1. Davak Says:

    Interesting that you find better character development than American “fast and simple”style despite the movie was only 23 minutes long.

    i watch “Law and Order” episodes that have more time for character development than that! ;)

  2. Sathomas Says:

    Good point. I should have clarified. The 23 minute movie and the second movie in the series dealt with the situations more than character development. I meant to refer to the last 4 movies in the series whcih are full length movies. I guess he had better budgets as he progressed.

    I will say this. Even though bakery girl is a simple movie compared to the others.He explores his one idea thoroughly in that 23 minutes though. Lots of pastries are eaten!

    I used to watch Law and Order a lot, (in a previous relationship ironically enough), and that show is good with in the allotted time frame. Studio 60 is too now that I think about it. So my broad over- generalizations may paint me in a corner on this one but that’s what I come away with after watching Rohmer movies all month and little else. T.V. or Movie wise. I guess I should have been clearer and thought about it for a day or two.

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