Eric Rohmer, French filmmaker, dies at 89
January 11, 2010 5:43 PM   Subscribe

"In many films, people never discuss ideas, whether moral ideas or political ideas. And if those kinds of discussions are in fact introduced, they always ring false. But I think I've managed -- and this is what I'm happiest about with my films as a whole -- I've managed to show people discussing morality, whatever that morality might be, in a completely natural way." Eric Rohmer, French filmmaker and editor of Cahiers du Cinema, has died at 89.

"And while his films could, with often exasperating frequency, leave one hungry for emanations less . . . civilized, there could never be any question of the man's dedication to Cinema, or his place in its wondrous and unsleeping concord.".

Some of his films:

My Night at Maud's

A Summer's Tale

Love in the Afternoon

Claire's Knee
posted by tractorfeed (40 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by smrtsch at 5:52 PM on January 11, 2010


I saw Pauline at the Beach three times in the theaters. And the first thing I bought with my very first paycheck was an $80 VHS copy.

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posted by Joe Beese at 5:54 PM on January 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Finally! I have been wondering where this post was all day...

Rohmer will always be my favorite of the French crowd he gets lumped in with, no contest. What I typed earlier today:

Rohmer's "woman dimension" makes him one of my favorites. He reached me more than Godard and all the others mainly for this reason--it wasn't a cerebral, abstracted "see, look at the position she's been placed in in this modern bourgeois context!" sort of argument like the others; it was pure bright emotion, first-person empathy. Same reason 3 Women is so good, etc. The Bakery Girl of Monceau, Suzanne's Career...sigh.

Today is just not going very well. This news doesn't help.

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It makes me want to go watch
Claire's Knee and Love in the Afternoon, to make this shitty day stop its wheels for a few hours.

I even enjoyed The Romance of Astrea and Celadon and am now relieved I watched it as soon as I had the chance. Sigh.
posted by ifjuly at 5:56 PM on January 11, 2010


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posted by brundlefly at 5:58 PM on January 11, 2010


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Love, love his films.
posted by Auden at 6:00 PM on January 11, 2010


God I love Rohmer. He was the subject of many a paper (took a wonderful French New Wave class back in film school). Claire's knee will always stick with me.


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posted by Lacking Subtlety at 6:03 PM on January 11, 2010


I saw Pauline at the Beach three times in the theaters. And the first thing I bought with my very first paycheck was an $80 VHS copy.

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posted by Joe Beese at 5:54 PM on January 11 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


God I haven't thought about that one for years. I remember loving it as well. It's time for a revisit!
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 6:05 PM on January 11, 2010


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posted by SmileyChewtrain at 6:05 PM on January 11, 2010


RIP, Eric Rohmer, you've given us so many fine things to remember you by.

Aah, I was thinking of doing an FPP on this, but there was so much to be said I didn't have the time to pull it all together. What a wonderful director. I've learned more about film from his work than most other directors. Absolutely charming. Sad day, but, well, he did live to 89 which is not too shabby. His work will live on forever.

I'll watch Claire's Knee, tonight, in his memory.
posted by VikingSword at 6:06 PM on January 11, 2010


In some ways he was the least celebrated of French New Wave directors. And yet his style is among the most unique and recognizable style of any French filmmaker other than Godard.
Sixteen of his films fit neatly into three categories over five decades.
Six Moral Tales [60's and 70's]
Comedies and Proverbs [80's]
Tales of the Four Seasons [90's]

My personal favorites are My Night At Mauds, Claire's Knee, Summer, Full Moon in Paris and A Tale of Autumn. But I've liked everything he has made.

I always chose to watch his films over the years rather than all at once if only so I could savor them over time. Too bad there are no more Rohmer films to come but at least he left us with a good number to seek out and enjoy.

The Auteurs has a good set of links about Rohmer and his films.

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posted by Rashomon at 6:09 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Pacific Film Archive ran a whole mess of Rohmer films one year when I was in college. I saw as many as I could, and loved them all, but I loved "Pauline a la Plage" and the four seasons films the best.

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posted by estherbester at 6:23 PM on January 11, 2010


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posted by Weebot at 6:38 PM on January 11, 2010


It's commonly said about Godard that he's primarily a critic who happens to make movies, but I've often thought this was truer of Rohmer: not just because of the strength of his writing in Cahiers, but because his films stand a bit off to one side of their contemporaries, showing us what the cinema would look like in a world more human, more suffused by careful, thoughtful sympathy, than ours generally is.

Somehow a moment of silence seems like the wrong response here; so I'll instead imagine a long take, more than a single moment, of uninterrupted, sparkling conversation.

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posted by RogerB at 6:52 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rohmer also co-wrote, with Claude Chabrol, the first serious study ever done of the works of Alfred Hitchcock, all the way back in 1957. Truly influential as both a critic and a filmmaker.

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posted by jonp72 at 6:53 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by shakespeherian at 7:00 PM on January 11, 2010


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posted by progosk at 7:04 PM on January 11, 2010


The only movie I've seen of his is En couer en hiver (a heart in winter) but it was one of the most moving experiences of my life watching it at 3am on bravo back when they showed good movies late and uninterrtupted. The sun came up before it was finished and I went outside and smoked a cigarette on my porch and thought "wow so that is what people mean by cinema rather than movies." I was 19 and I had never realized before that there was more to movies than explosions and gun-fu. Merci.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:08 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


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posted by toodleydoodley at 7:08 PM on January 11, 2010


(actually, En Coeur en Hiver was by Claude Sautet).

I'm going to recommend one of my favorite Rohmer films, should anyone be up for catching one of his works in remembrance, and that is: Le Rayon Vert.
posted by Auden at 7:25 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen all of his films, but I loved the moral tales films, and intend to see more of his work.
posted by Forktine at 7:26 PM on January 11, 2010


Little by little, my enemies continue dying.
posted by signal at 7:49 PM on January 11, 2010


My favourite filmmaker

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posted by niccolo at 7:54 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been meaning to watch some Rohmer films for years but haven't gotten to them yet. This post'll help. Here's Senses of Cinema's page for Rohmer to go along with Rashomon's great Auteurs link.
posted by mediareport at 8:06 PM on January 11, 2010


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posted by Smart Dalek at 8:33 PM on January 11, 2010


Oops well on double checking at least it was rohmers movie I saw I just got the name wrong. I never said he gave me kultchur all at once.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:56 PM on January 11, 2010


In 1959, Godard and Rohmer collaborated on the charming short "Charlotte et Veronique" ou "Tous Les Garçons S'appellent Patrick".
posted by grounded at 8:59 PM on January 11, 2010


Rayon vert, La Collectioneuse and Winter's Tale are my favorites. Of the Cahiers du Cinemá crowd he was my favorite one (Rivette comes in second). There is some real wisdom in his films, wisdom that doesn't parade itself as wisdom but that just is. And that is extremely rare in films -and elsewhere, too. Thanks for the films, they were beautiful and helpful.

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posted by MrMisterio at 9:03 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm going to recommend one of my favorite Rohmer films, should anyone be up for catching one of his works in remembrance, and that is: Le Rayon Vert.

Completely agreed. Such a quiet, beautiful film. I love almost all his films, but this is my favorite as well.
posted by Arch_Stanton at 9:05 PM on January 11, 2010


I love Rohmer - I was just talking with a friend about him. The first of his films that I saw was Boyfriends and Girlfriends. I remember being struck by how almost nothing happens in the movie - certainly nothing that's not completely obvious early on - and yet it's totally compelling, just based on the characters and the conversations. It was like a Jane Austen novel. I also remember one scene where this boy and girl are sitting together, just talking, heads close together, for about 10 long minutes, and you just know they're going to kiss, and the tension builds, and builds ... wonderfully done.

So then I went to see every Rohmer movie that I could. I remember loving how lovingly he painted these incredibly neurotic women (not all, but many). I was eating vegetarian the year that I saw The Green Ray. Someone asks the lead character in that movie why she's a vegetarian, and she talks for about five minutes without ever really getting to a reason. The guy she's talking to asks questions, like "so it's a feeling of lightness then?" and each time she kind of hems, and haws, and wavers, "No, it's not exactly that ..." I was cracking up. Again, wonderful.
posted by anshuman at 9:38 PM on January 11, 2010


He was still teaching cinema in Paris ten years ago; I have no idea how long this continued.

A great and enormously sympathetic figure.

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posted by Wolof at 1:25 AM on January 12, 2010


Nothing tragic here as he had a long and productive career.

I do love his films and, once you see a few, you realize that you never see films like this. People talking, walking, living their lives, expressing their doubts and fears.

The first film of his I saw was My Night with Maud - and I was hooked. I've since seen almost all of his films. I love the Tales of the Four Seasons which were made so recently - in the 1990s. But you can go back all the way to say La Boulangere de Monceau which I saw for the first time last week and see that he has been pursuing the same themes all along - the search for love, the conflict between words and actions.
posted by vacapinta at 2:44 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The first of his movies I saw was Claire's Knee, and I was hooked for life. I sometimes got impatient with his movies but was never sorry I'd seen them. I was lucky enough to meet him in New Haven several decades ago, though I can't remember what I stammered out or how he responded. I agree with the recommendation for Le Rayon Vert; it's hard to imagine a movie-lover not loving that.

Where's matteo, dammit? I want to hear what he has to say.

> Little by little, my enemies continue dying.

That was a pretty shitty comment. Even if it's a clever allusion to something (Google didn't show me anything), it's still shitty, because nobody but you knows how clever you're being and by itself it just sounds like you're shitting in an obit thread.

posted by languagehat at 6:00 AM on January 12, 2010


Little by little, my enemies continue dying.

I also would appreciate a little expansion on this. Plase Sir, can I have some more?

Where's matteo, dammit?

Yes.
posted by Wolof at 6:13 AM on January 12, 2010


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posted by Iridic at 7:10 AM on January 12, 2010


Summer is my favourite movie. It is the most honest depiction of the shy character that I have seen. I always remember Delphine's discomfort while the Swedish girl and the two Italian guys riff their nonsense conversation off each other. Just a couple days ago I wrote a recommendation for it on another website. But whenever I suggest it to others I always feel that I have to let them know that it's slow and talky, has static camera setups, improvised dialogue, amateur actors and men who walk around with sweaters draped over their shoulders. I always fear that others, even others who would identify with the main character, will fail to see why I find it so special.
posted by TimTypeZed at 7:25 AM on January 12, 2010


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posted by SassHat at 9:39 AM on January 12, 2010


I saw a Rohmer film once...
posted by jonp72 at 12:20 PM on January 12, 2010


That was a pretty shitty comment. Even if it's a clever allusion to something (Google didn't show me anything), it's still shitty, because nobody but you knows how clever you're being and by itself it just sounds like you're shitting in an obit thread.

I also would appreciate a little expansion on this. Plase Sir, can I have some more?

No allusion. No clever. I'm not shitting in an obituary thread. I'm gloating in an obituary thread.
posted by signal at 1:31 PM on January 12, 2010


Oh, you're just a jerk then. Go away.
posted by languagehat at 1:36 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


No allusion. No clever. I'm not shitting in an obituary thread. I'm gloating in an obituary thread.

I admit, I'm curious. Why do you regard Eric Rohmer as an enemy? I assume it's not the person, but the artist who is the enemy for you? Given how low-key Rohmer's artistic legacy is compared to the impact of someone like, say, Lucas, I cannot imagine why anyone would think him an enemy.
posted by VikingSword at 11:58 AM on January 13, 2010


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