Passion and Reason
Today’s obituary of French film maker Eric Rohmer is a bit run-of-the-mill and off-target. When I first saw “My Night at Maud’s” long ago, I was stunned by how Catholic it was–not just because they didn’t have sex, but because they spent the whole night talking about why/why not. Of course, its also very French–as are all his movies, talk, talk, talk. One of my favorite past Christmas presents was the Criterion collection of his “Moral Tales,” which includes some of his early shorts. Just the thing for cold winter week-ends!
A.O. Scott: “Even relatively simple scenarios — an accidental glance at a girl’s leg in “Claire’s Knee,” the more-or-less conventional adultery of “Chloe in the Afternoon” (1972) — yield reversals and paradoxes that defy easy summary. But even at their most feverish and fraught, these situations are diagramed with precision and detachment. Passion may be the subject, but the method is reason.”
Here is a much fuller analysis of Rohmer, also by A.O. Scott, from 2001