First Take:

You may want to watch this alone, actually. Thereís a lot of fast flying very heady dialogue and you may find yourself wanting to pause the film frequently to digest certain bits of it. Seriously. Iím not really smart enough to know if Rohmerís philosophical discussions have the logical consistency of the source material (Pascal, Catholicism, your memory of your life and loves). But damn. They definitely do give you pause. And here, unlike some other Rohmer films, this one actually pays much attention to the sheer beauty of the images. The black and white is crisp, with white predominating, and creating an overall very soft feel. The soft whiteness (the snow, her comforter and chemise) plays great counterpoint to the sharp dueling intellectual and sensual content. I donít see the white softness as representative of the sensual aspect at all. I lump both the intellectual and sensual as the swiftly moving dark colors (suits, cars, the text in a held book). Meanwhile, the white is more an invitation for us to just relax and give in, again not to sensuality, but to simply not think at all, to not read or resist, but to gaze blanklyólike the snow falling in the Princeís palace in Andrei Rublev.

I very much wonder what Blaise Pascal would have written about this film, or marmalade for that matter.

Upon Reflection:

Eric Rohmer films can be some of the most elegant, richly detailed, and easily enjoyed films one can watch. The narratives are sound, and there is plenty of suspense, intellectual stimulation, cinematic beauty, etc. to keep me interested.

And yet, inevitably, every time a Rohmer film ends, I am left with a hollow, empty feeling. I am not really as moved as perhaps I could have been. And I think this is because the films (both in plot and dialogue) are just too crafted to really touch a deeper nerve. Although I certainly allow myself to identify and sympathize with the filmís characters. Eventually, I become aware of the hand of the directorónot duringóas with truly inferior filmsóbut after itís overóupon reflection. Bits and pieces of the film ring true, but the overall expediency and tidiness with which the plot unfolds simply defy credulity. When you try to put it back together again, it doesnít all work. And if you cannot believe in the film as a whole, it calls even the good parts into question. Rohmerís morality (by which I really mean interpretation of reality) is elegant, precise, meticulous. Much of it overlaps with real reality (by which I mean boy girl stuff) as I have experienced it, and yet, I have such trouble digesting it. Itís like a simulacrum.

My Advice: see My Night at Maudís first. And then decide if you want to see more Rohmer films.


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