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Éric Rohmer (born Maurice Henri Joseph Schérer, 4 April 1920, Tullemarker, Francemarker) is a French film director, screenwriter and film critic. A key figure in the post-war New Wave cinema, he is a former editor of influential French film journal Cahiers du cinéma.

Schérer fashioned his pseudonym from the names of two famous artists: actor and director Erich von Stroheim and writer Sax Rohmer, author of the Fu Manchu series.

Rohmer was the last of the French New Wave directors to become established. He worked as the editor of the Cahiers du cinéma periodical from 1957 to 1963, while most of his Cahiers colleagues, among them Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, were beginning their careers and gaining international attention. René Schérer, philosopher, is his brother and René Monzat, a journalist is his son.


Early career

He completed his first feature, Le signe du lion in 1959 to little notice. Rohmer's career began to gain momentum with his cycle of films Six Moral Tales. The first, La boulangère de Monceau lasts 23 minutes, the second, La Carrière de Suzanne 55 minutes; the remainder are feature-length. Each tale follows the same basic story, inspired by F. W. Murnau's Sunrise (1927) — a man, married or otherwise committed to a woman, is tempted by a second woman, but resists the temptation. It was the third in the series (but the fourth to be shot), Ma nuit chez Maud (1969) that brought him international recognition. The following film, Le genou de Claire, secured that recognition.

Later professional life

Rohmer's films invariably concentrate on intelligent, articulate protagonists, who nevertheless frequently fail to own up to their real desires. The contrast between what they say and what they do fuels much of the drama in his films.

Following the Moral Tales, Rohmer made two period films — La Marquise d'O... (1976), from a novella by Heinrich von Kleist, and Perceval le Gallois (1978), based on a 12th century manuscript by Chrétien de Troyes. Rohmer is a highly literary man. His films frequently refer to ideas and themes in plays and novels, such as references to Jules Verne (in The Green Ray), Shakespeare (in A Winter's Tale) and Pascal's Wager (in Ma nuit chez Maud).

Rohmer then embarked on a second series, the Comedies and Proverbs, each based on a different proverb. He followed these with a third series in the 1990s: Tales of the Four Seasons. Beginning in the 2000s, Rohmer, now in his eighties, returned to period drama with The Lady and the Duke and Triple Agent. The Lady and the Duke caused considerable controversy in France, where its negative portrayal of the French Revolution led some critics to label it pro-monarchist propaganda. Its innovative cinematic style and strong acting performances led it to be well-received elsewhere.

Rohmer's style

Rohmer does not use the full-face closeup, contending it is an artificial cinematic device that does not reflect how we see each other in reality. He avoids extradiegetic music (not coming from onscreen sound sources), seeing it as a violation of the fourth wall. He has on occasion, however, departed from this rule; for example, inserting soundtrack music in places in The Green Ray (1986) (released as Summer in the United States). Rohmer also tends to spend considerable time in his films showing his characters going from place to place, walking, driving, bicycling, or commuting on a train, engaging the viewer in the idea that part of the day of each individual involves quotidian travel. This was most evident in (1982), which had the female protagonist constantly traveling, particularly between Paris and Le Mans.

Rohmer typically populates his movies with people in their twenties, and the settings are often on beautiful seacoast beaches and resorts, notably in La Collectionneuse (1967), Pauline at the Beach (1983), The Green Ray (1986), and A Summer's Tale (1996). These films are immersed in an environment of bright sunlight, blue skies, green grass, sandy beaches, and clear waters.

What is most distinctive about the director is that he has his characters engage in long conversations—mostly talking about man-woman relationships, but also on mundane issues like trying to find a vacation spot. And there are also occasional digressions by the characters on literary and philosophical issues, as most of Rohmer's characters are middle class and university educated.

A Summer's Tale (1996) has most of the elements of a typical Rohmer film: no soundtrack music, no closeups, a seaside resort, long conversations between beautiful young people (who are middle class and educated) and discussions involving the characters' interests from songwriting to ethnology.

Awards and nominations

The Venice Film Festival awarded Éric Rohmer the Career Golden Lion in 2001.


Feature films

Contes moraux (Six Moral Tales):'

Comédies et Proverbes (Comedies and Proverbs):'
  • 1981 La Femme de l'aviateur (The Aviator's Wife) — "It is impossible to think about nothing."
  • 1982 Le Beau mariage (A Good Marriage) — "Can anyone refrain from building castles in Spain?"
  • 1983 Pauline à la plage (Pauline At The Beach) — "He who talks too much will hurt himself."
  • 1984 Les Nuits de la pleine lune (Full Moon In Paris) — "He who has two women loses his soul, he who has two houses loses his mind."
  • 1986 Le Rayon vert (The Green Ray/Summer) — "Ah, for the days/that set our hearts ablaze,"
  • 1987 L'Ami de mon amie (My Girlfriend's Boyfriend/Boyfriends and Girlfriends) — "My friends' friends are my friends."

Contes des quatre saisons (Tales of the Four Seasons):'


Short films

Works for television

Episodes for En profil dans le texte

Episodes for Cinéastes de notre temps

Episodes for Aller au cinéma Ville nouvelle (1975, four-part miniseries)
  • Épisode 1: L'enfance d'une ville
  • Épisode 2: La diversité du paysage urbain
  • Épisode 3: La forme de la ville
  • Épisode 4: Le logement à la demande

Episode for Histoire de la vie privée


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