Watch the Films of Éric Rohmer on His Centenary

Richard Brody at The New Yorker:

Those young movie nuts would launch the French New Wave, along with Rohmer, who was its virtual godfather; yet it took him two decades to put his ideas into practice. What made the difference for this group’s movies was a new mode of production—scant budget, small crew, rapid shooting. For Rohmer, these methods helped him fuse his way of filming with his way of living—and he lived a very strange life. (There’s a remarkable biography of him by Antoine de Baecque and Noël Herpe.) His practices—blending documentary and aestheticism, subjectivity and classicism—also made his characters’ romantic doings seem deceptively frivolous, their intellectual disputations ironically austere. The overarching subject of his films is avoiding the temptations of a false love (often but not always in the form of lust) while pursuing, awaiting, anticipating, or hardly even hoping for a true one. In a handful of films, such as the deeply disturbing “The Marquise of O” and his final film, “The Romance of Astrée and Céladon,” he tips his hand with the abstract extremes of his ideas—including the nearly impossible radicality of Christian love (which, in his view, is also romantic).

more here.

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