Close Up

15 August - 3 September 2018: Close-Up on Éric Rohmer

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Tickets: £10 / £8 / £6 Close-Up members

Box Office: 02037847970

“Ellen: Charles and I are going to see a Rohmer film, My Night at Maud's. Wanna come? Harry: I don't think so. I saw a Rohmer film once. It was kind of like watching paint dry.” – Night Moves, Arthur Penn and Alan Sharp.

"In spite of the popular misconception that Rohmer’s films are “slow,” they are assuredly narratives, affectionately focused, in general, on the lives and loves of the mostly young and attractive, with almost all of them running under a brisk two hours. They are also primarily comedies grounded in the sympathetic observation of human foibles, particularly the prickly connection, or lack thereof, between professed beliefs and behavior. The emphasis placed on spoken dialogue in Rohmer’s films has led some to claim his filmmaking is “uncinematic.” In fact, Rohmer’s classical approach to filmmaking makes the dialogue a crucial part of the image, rather than subordinating the image to words. It comes as no surprise that two of Rohmer’s major influences are Jean Renoir and Howard Hawks, two masters at creating exciting cinema from the encounters between characters whose life essence is expressed through the spoken and sung word – a vision of the cinema shared by Rohmer and his colleague Godard in which speech is most definitely an act. Although visually Rohmer remained a classicist, uninterested in widescreen or elaborate camera work, his films are also graced with a luxuriant visual beauty, especially those made in collaboration with famed cinematographer Nestor Almendros." – Harvard Film Archive

The Bakery Girl of Monceau
Eric Rohmer
1963 | 23 min | B/W | Digital
French with English subtitles

Simple, delicate, and jazzy, the first of the "Moral Tales" shows the stirrings of what would become the Eric Rohmer style: unfussy naturalistic shooting, ironic first-person voice-over, and the image of the “unknowable” woman. A law student (played by producer and future director Barbet Schroeder) with a roving eye and a large appetite stuffs himself full of sugar cookies and pastries daily in order to garner the attentions of the pretty brunette who works in a quaint Paris bakery. read more

Suzanne’s Career
Éric Rohmer
1963 | 55 min | B/W | Digital
French with English subtitles

Bertrand bides his time in a casually hostile and envious friendship with college chum Guillaume. But when ladies’ man Guillaume seems to be making a play for the spirited, independent Suzanne, Bertrand watches bitterly with disapproval and jealousy. With its ragged black-and-white 16 mm photography and strong sense of 1960s Paris, Rohmer’s second “Moral Tale” is a wonderfully evocative portrait of youthful naiveté and the complicated bonds of friendship and romance. read more

My Night at Maud's
Éric Rohmer
1969 | 110 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

In the brilliantly accomplished centerpiece of Rohmer’s “Moral Tales” series, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Jean-Louis, one of the great conflicted figures of sixties cinema. A pious Catholic engineer in his early thirties, he lives by a strict moral code in order to rationalize his world, drowning himself in mathematics and the philosophy of Pascal. After spotting the delicate, blonde Françoise at Mass, he vows to make her his wife, although when he unwittingly spends the night at the apartment of the bold, brunette divorcée Maud, his rigid ethical standards are challenged. read more

La collectionneuse
Éric Rohmer
1967 | 87 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

A bombastic, womanizing art dealer and his painter friend go to a seventeenth-century villa on the Riviera for a relaxing summer getaway. But their idyll is disturbed by the presence of the bohemian Haydée, accused of being a “collector” of men. Rohmer’s first color film, La collectionneuse pushes the Moral Tales into new, darker realms. Yet it is also a grand showcase for the clever and delectably ironic battle-of-the-sexes repartee (in a witty script written by Rohmer and the three main actors) and luscious, effortless Néstor Almendros photography that would define the remainder of the series. read more

Claire's Knee
Éric Rohmer
1970 | 105 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

“Why would I tie myself to one woman if I were interested in others?” says Jerôme, even as he plans on marrying a diplomat’s daughter by summer’s end. Before then, Jerôme spends his July at a lakeside boardinghouse nursing crushes on the sixteen-year-old Laura and, more tantalizingly, Laura’s long-legged, blonde stepsister, Claire. Baring her knee on a ladder under a blooming cherry tree, Claire unwittingly instigates Jerôme’s moral crisis and creates both one of French cinema’s most enduring moments and what has become the iconic image of Rohmer’s Moral Tales. read more

Love in the Afternoon
Éric Rohmer
1972 | 93 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

Though happily married to his adoring wife Hélène, with whom he is expecting a second child, the thoroughly bourgeois business executive Frédéric cannot banish from his mind the multitude of attractive Parisian women who pass him by every day. His flirtations and fantasies remain harmless until Chloé (played by the mesmerizing Zouzou), an audacious, unencumbered old flame, shows up at his office, embodying the first genuine threat to Frédéric’s marriage. read more

The Marquise of O
Éric Rohmer
1976 | 102 min | Colour | Digital
German with English subtitles

Rohmer followed the great successes of his “Six Moral Tales” with a marked departure from his playful studies of shifting ethical codes in contemporary France by adapting an 1808 novella by Heinrich von Kleist. Like the novella, the film begins with the publication of a remarkable newspaper advertisement, signed by the Marquise of the title, in which she reveals that she is pregnant and desirous of the man responsible to reveal himself. read more

Perceval le Gallois
Éric Rohmer
1978 | 140 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

Rohmer adapts Chrétien de Troyes’ mediaeval epic poem about the eponymous Arthurian knight and his quest for the Holy Grail. An astonishing departure in style from one of French cinema’s great naturalists, the film is staged and shot as if Rohmer wanted to recapture the medieval viewing experience. Rhyming couplet dialogue, rudimentary props and artificial sets, planimetric compositions and a highly demonstrative approach to acting combine to produce a quasi-theatrical, yet richly cinematic naïveté. read more

The Aviator’s Wife
Éric Rohmer
1981 | 104 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

The first of Rohmer’s “Comedies and Proverbs” follows the proverb “It is impossible to think of nothing,” the wisdom of which is tested by two couples who dedicate themselves to analyzing, and overanalyzing, their own situations and relationships. The film revolves around several episodes of miscommunications and misunderstandings between a young woman and her slightly younger lover after he catches her former boyfriend leaving her apartment early one morning. read more

Pauline at the Beach
Éric Rohmer
1983 | 94 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

One of Rohmer’s most accessible films, Pauline at the Beach focuses on a merry-go-round of love and sex between four people who meet on vacation, all under the watchful eye of a pair of adolescents, who ultimately seem the wisest characters of all. Guided by the proverb roughly translated as “He who talks too much undoes himself,” Rohmer derives rich comedy and drama from the gaps between the moral positions declared by each of the adults and promptly contradicted by their subsequent actions. read more

A Good Marriage
Éric Rohmer
1982 | 97 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

The La Fontaine proverb that begins this film asks, “Who has not built castles in Spain?” and the film follows with a cautionary tale about the dangers of hatching elaborate and improbable schemes. Rohmer favorite Béatrice Romand plays a young woman bent not on playing the field but rather waiting to meet the ideal man for marriage. In typical Rohmerian fashion, her resolute goal-orientation makes her alternately admirable and insufferable as she wills herself into awkward courtship and miscommunication. read more

Full Moon in Paris
Éric Rohmer
1984 | 102 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

In Rohmer’s fourth film in his Comedies and Proverbs series, Louise, a young interior decorator (Pascale Ogier), keeps two homes – one with her boyfriend, Remi, and one without. She chases the freedom of the single life in her Paris pied-à-terre, while Remi stays in the other residence, seemingly a homebody. Rohmer’s finely drawn characterization brings out the confusions and small devotions that complicate a familiar paradox, rarely rendered with such subtlety and maturity. read more

The Green Ray
Éric Rohmer
1986 | 98 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

July is the month when Parisians flee the city for their long anticipated vacation, with many middle-class residents depending upon on the kindness of friends with country or beach homes. Summer’s thirtyish and single Delphine watches her friends leave the city without having any fixed plans of her own, a wonderful pretext for Rohmer to foreground the quick-witted but unsettled heroine’s proclaimed devotion to chance as the cure for her loneliness. read more

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
Éric Rohmer
1987 | 102 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

The final chapter in Rohmer’s Comedies and Proverbs cycle brings the acclaimed series to a close with a playful dose of jeu d’esprit that would make the French filmmaker’s idol, Hollywood screwball-comedy king Howard Hawks, proud. Set in the insular, ultra-modern Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise, this cool, clever comedy of manners concerns a group of young, amorously-obedient professionals who harbour mismatched emotions for each other’s significant others. read more

A Summer’s Tale
Éric Rohmer
1996 | 113 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

The third film in Rohmer’s sublime Four Seasons cycle reunites the veteran auteur with Amanda Langlet, the sun-kissed teen heroine of Pauline at the Beach, for another beguiling, beachside tale of jeune amour. Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud), one of the few male protagonists in late Rohmer, is a young, handsome, completely self-absorbed musician holidaying in Brittany for the summer. Awaiting the arrival of his not-quite girlfriend Léna, Gaspard begins courting the affections of sweet, smart, ethnology student Margot, and then Margot's smitten friend. read more

An Autumn Tale
Éric Rohmer
1998 | 110 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

The last of Rohmer’s “Tales of the Four Seasons”, An Autumn Tale is a magisterial late work – gentle, autumnal and mellow – that remains among the director’s very finest. In contrast to the dominant emphasis on youth in so much of his previous work, Rohmer now focuses instead on two middle-aged friends, played by his two favorite actresses, Marie Rivière and Béatrice Romaine, as the heroines of an intriguing plot spun from the matchmaking efforts of one for the other, and perhaps for herself as well. read more

Calendar

Title

Date

Time

Book

Suzanne’s Career Wednesday 15.08.18 7:30 pm Book
My Night at Maude's Thursday 16.08.18 7:30 pm Book
La Collectionneuse Friday 17.08.18 7:30 pm Book
Claire’s Knee Saturday 18.08.18 6:00 pm Book
Love In The Afternoon Sunday 19.08.18 6:00 pm Book
A Summer’s Tale Monday 20.08.18 7:30 pm Book
The Marquise of O Tuesday 21.08.18 7:30 pm Book
Perceval le Gallois Wednesday 22.08.18 7:30 pm Book
The Aviator's Wife Sunday 26.08.18 6:00 pm Book
A Good Marriage Monday 27.08.18 7:30 pm Book
Pauline at the Beach Wednesday 29.08.18 7:30 pm Book
Full Moon in Paris Thursday 30.08.18 7:30 pm Book
My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Friday 31.08.18 7:30 pm Book
The Green Ray Saturday 01.09.18 8:00 pm Book
An Autumn Tale Monday 03.09.18 7:30 pm Book