Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales

Dir: Eric Rohmer. 1971. Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Francoise Fabian. French. Foreign, Criterion.
Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales

French New Wave director Eric Rohmer possessed a literary side not to be ignored. He wrote Six Moral Tales before he became a director. The six stories, included in the DVD box set, are perceptive modern age sensibilities dripped with moral reservations. They end without euphoric conclusions; more of wordless losses or gains, and yet that is the charm of them. They leave you with a sense of discomposure, like dreams cut off at the strangest moment, trailing into a world of thoughts nestling within oceans of principled questions.

This literary side of Rohmer's became a flourishing group of work when, upon entering the world of filmmaking, he decided to turn them into films. Each film in its own entitlement has a unique feel and purpose. When placed within a collective, the themes are stronger, more contemplative, and the characters more complicated in the tangle of moral dilemmas. And the films are steady, paced as humanly possible. These stories are vignettes of French young life in the 60s and early 70s through the eyes of Rohmer, who delightfully posits philosophical and intellectual challenges with the characters' accounts. Also notable is his careful style that is subtle and devoid of classic cinema's devices – lacking non-diegetic music, avoiding the full-face close-up, engaging the viewer in a character's everyday lifestyle, etc.

Additionally, watching them in chronological order allows us to view Rohmer's beginning development as a filmmaker. That being said, it is worth the whole collection. The box set includes the book of moral tales and also other works of Eric Rohmer.

Posted by:
Tiffany Huang
Jul 19, 2008 3:21pm
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