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ERIC ROHMER

(Jean-Marie Maurice Scherer)

France

Born: Nancy, France, 4 April 1920.


French director, former academic and film critic. Like other French New Wave directors, Rohmer began working in the 1950s, but it was not until Ma nuit chez Maud / My Night with Maud (1969) that he became internationally recognized. His films, most of them divided into "moral tales" (1962-72) and "comedies and proverbs" (1980-87) are chamber pieces, focusing on the moral, intellectual and romantic dilemmas of highly articulate characters. This has led to Rohmer's characterization as a "literary" film-maker. But whil in the tradition of psychological French literature, Rohmer's work is eminently cinematic - in its mastery of a classical economical style, and in its recourse to cinéma-vérité techniques.

Even when focusing on the dilemmas of male protagonists, Rohmer's films give women a prominent place. The title character in Maud is the prototypical "moral tales" heroine: sensually and intellectually superior to the prim and rather dull hero. With the "comedies and proverbs" Rohmer increasingly became a "woman's director", and his semi-artisanal methods often closely involve his actresses, for instance Marie Rivière for Le Rayon vert / The Green Ray (1986). In these later films, it is the women's desire which drives the narrative, even if often thwarted, as in the powerful Les Nuits de la pleine lune / Full Moon in Paris, 1984. Still made with small budgets and crews, and shot on location, Rohmer's latest films, L'Arbre, le maire et la médiathèque (1993, a brilliant combination of vérité documentary and frivolous marivaudage), and the new series, "Tales of the Four Seasons", show his continuing commitment to the aesthetics as well as the methods of the New Wave.

— Ginette Vincendeau, Encyclopedia of European Cinema



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