The Marquise Of O… (1976), Not Recommended, TSPDT #908

The Russian Count (Bruno Ganz) Coming To The Rescue?

It’s difficult to believe that this is an Eric Rohmer film. First, it’s a period piece and Rohmer’s films almost always take place in modern times. Second, Rohmer has never been known for his visuals, but for his heavy use of dialogue. The amount of dialogue in this film is dwarfed in comparison to the usual Rohmer film. So out of a 1811 novella by Kleist comes what can best be described as a film adaptation of that novella if it were made with the worldview and understanding that existed in 1811. Well, at least in the sense that films reflect the actuality of the times in which they were made.

The film begins in a tavern where some people are reading about the Marquise of O… who has become pregnant without her knowing how and she wants the father to come forward. Then we are thrust back to an attack by the Russians on a citadel held by the Marquise’s father–the Colonel. Soon the Marquise is grabbed by the invaders and is clearly in danger when the Russian Count appears and comes to her rescue. Brought back to the citadel in shock, it is suggested by one of the staff that she be given a sleeping potion. She is left alone with their footman Leopardo briefly, but he leaves. Then we see:

The Marquise Half Asleep

And The Count Looking On

Then it’s a fade to black that provides an ellipsis over a crucial period of time that provides the mystery that led to the posting read later in the tavern. At least it’s a mystery to the Marquise and her parents, who go from mystery illness to immaculate conception to a temporary exile of Marquise. To me, and I am sure anyone else, it was obvious. However, as I said earlier, it isn’t the viewpoint of 1976 or 2010 that governs this film, but one from 1811.

This is a unique piece of cinema so if it sounds interesting to you then by all means take a look. For everyone else, I can’t recommend this film.

La Collectionneuse (1967), Approach With Caution, TSPDT #883

Haydée (Haydée Politoff) and Adrien (Patrick Bauchau)

In typical French fashion, this movie is about two guys and one girl at a country estate where they talk non-stop unless they are having sex. The two guys are collectors in the more traditional sense while the girl collects men. There is a lot of talking about stuff that is largely meaningless as far as I am concerned. The girl sleeps with a lot of men, but hasn’t found what she is looking for yet. She goes after the two guys, but that doesn’t work for her either. The two guys don’t like a liberated woman and don’t like being collected, as it were, by this one in particular. Their time in countryside is ruined by the situation and they all go away. In between, there are many beautiful shots like the one above.

If you can gleam more from this film then feel free to share it with me. To this one I say, approach with caution.

The Green Ray (1986), Recommended, TSPDT #876

Delphine (Marie Rivière)

The title of this film is kind of confusing. It comes up as an important part of the story as reference to Jules Verne’s The Green Ray and we do see that meteorological phenomenon at the end of the film. However, I have come to expect titles like My Night At Maud’s or Pauline At The Beach from director Eric Rohmer. A better title for this film would have been Delphine Goes On Vacation.

And that’s exactly what she does. However, when her friends want her to go outside of France she recoils. Her family is going to Ireland, but a proper vacation isn’t with family according to her. She ends up going from one French vacation spot to another where she keeps her shields up and withdraws from every opportunity only to say later that she is open and that there must be something wrong with her. In at least one place she shows up only to turn around a little while later.

The tale of the green ray is that if you see this phenomenon you will not only be able to read other’s feelings and your own. She is drawn to this story because she really doesn’t understand herself and misunderstands those around her. As a result, she is very isolated.

This movie resonated with me because unfortunately I am a lot like Delphine. I recommend it.

Claire’s Knee (1970), Approach With Caution, TSPDT #706

I had a lot of trouble with this film. It wasn’t completely indecipherable, but enough that I don’t really want to try and write a review. Instead, I will have to get back to you when I have more information about this film and/or the director Eric Rohmer. Until then it will be an approach with caution.

My Night At Maud’s (1969), Approach With Caution, TSPDT #600

There is a famous quote about Eric Rohmer’s work from the film Night Moves (1975). Gene Hackman says he once saw an Eric Rohmer film, it was like watching paint dry. I can see where he was coming from, but this film was oddly entertaining. The film is about an engineer with a passion for mathematics. One evening he runs into an old friend of his who is a Marxist-Leninist. The friend invites him to the home of a woman named Maud. He quickly leaves after some heating discussions over Pascal because he wants to leave him with Maud. After some coaxing, the engineer sleeps with Maud (I mean actually sleeps, not sex).

The next morning they are close and seem like they might get together, but they don’t. The engineer’s woman is blonde and Catholic. He subsequently meets her and marries her. 5 or so years later they are walking down to a beach and run into Maud. For some reason the wife knows Maud, but won’t say. The engineer is convinced that there is something there, but decides that if he pushed the matter it would only cause problems. Instead he simply explains away Maud by saying that she was his last fling.

Now this film was the third in director Eric Rohmer’s six moral tales. I am sure there is a lesson to be learned, but I couldn’t derive it from the film. As it is the film isn’t boring, but I can’t say much else that is good about it. I will revisit the film later like I did Nostalghia, but until then approach this film with caution.