Eric Rohmer 4 Films – DCP, Blu-ray, DVD
In the first film of “Tales of the Four Seasons,” a burgeoning friendship between philosophy teacher Jeanne (Anne Teyssèdre) and pianist Natacha (Florence Darel) is strained by jealousy, suspicion, and intrigue. Natacha encourages Jeanne to pursue the former's father, Igor (Hugues Quester), in order to supplant Eve (Eloïse Bennett), the young girlfriend Natacha loathes. Natacha’s scheme, however, risks alienating those closest to her as well as entangling Jeanne in a romantic drama she has vowed to avoid. A Tale of Springtime demonstrates Rohmer in full command of subtle visual storytelling as he contrasts the brightness of his characters’ Parisian and suburban surroundings with their conflicting desires, ideas, and temperaments.
The second installment of “Tales of the Four Seasons” is among the most spiritual and emotional films of Rohmer’s storied career. Five years after losing touch with Charles (Frédéric van den Driessche), the love of her life and the father of her young daughter, Félicie (Charlotte Véry) attempts to choose between librarian Loïc (Hervé Furic), who lives in the Parisian suburbs, or hairdresser Maxence (Michel Voletti), who has recently moved to Nevers. In the midst of indecision Félicie holds to an undying faith that a miracle will reunite her with Charles, a faith that Rohmer examines in all of its religious dimensions and philosophical ramifications.
According to Rohmer, the third film of the “Tales of the Four Seasons” is his “most personal vehicle.” Based on events from Rohmer’s youth, A Tale of Summer follows amateur musician Gaspard (Melvil Poupard) to a seaside resort in Dinard, on the coast of Brittany. There three women (Amanda Langlet, Gwenaëlle Simon, Aurelia Nolin) each offer the possibility of romance, but Gaspard’s inability to commit to just one places all of his chances at love in jeopardy. Summer features Rohmer’s wistful observations on indecisiveness and the fickle nature of desire, as brought to life by a talented young cast in a picturesque setting.
The concluding installment of the “Tales of the Four Seasons” tetralogy is a breezy take on the classic American romantic comedies that influenced Rohmer and his New Wave peers. Set in the Rhône Valley and taking full advantage of its golden vineyards, A Tale of Autumn concerns simultaneous schemes to find a new love for reserved winegrower and widow Magali (Beatrice Romand). While Magali’s son’s girlfriend (Alexia Portal) attempts to pair her with a former professor and lover (Didier Sandre), Magali’s friend Isabelle (Marie Rivière) assumes a false identity in order to bait eligible bachelor Gérald (Alain Libolt). The misunderstandings that follow are pure Rohmer in revealing the humor of human folly and foible.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema.
Four charming comedies from Eric Rohmer.
Melvin Van Peebles’s edgy, angsty, romantic first feature could never have been made in America. Unable to break into a segregated Hollywood, Van Peebles decamped to France, taught himself the language, and wrote a number of books in French, one of which, La permission, would become his stylistically innovative feature debut.
Melvin Van Peebles
DCP, Blu-ray, DVD
A triumph at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, the revelatory debut feature from codirectors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri is a heartrending and hopeful portrait of everyday human endurance in Lagos, Nigeria.