This near genre unto itself was established with his audacious and wildly influential series Six Moral Tales.
A succession of jousts between fragile men and the women who tempt them, the Six Moral Tales unleashed onto the film world a new voice, one that was at once sexy, philosophical, modern, daring, nonjudgmental, and liberating. A law student played by producer and future director Barbet Schroeder with a roving eye and a large appetite stuffs himself full of sugar cookies and pastries daily in order to garner the attentions of the pretty brunette who works in a quaint Paris bakery. But is he truly interested, or is she just a sweet diversion?
Conversations With Filmmakers Book Series
Both films were shot using a 16mm Aaton camera with very little recourse to artificial light, but Maintigneux was able to use these limitations to achieve a distinct artistic effect of rawness and fragility. For Rohmer, the 16mm film conveyed reality more clearly, giving a documentary force to the images and helping us to understand them as the swift capturing of the everyday. The amateur conditions Rohmer favoured on these two projects also gave Maintigneux an extraordinary amount of freedom in deciding the composition and framing of the image, since Rohmer was unable to intervene and demand certain kinds of shots.
Maintigneux therefore had total control over how she would move the camera and frame the image, partly by using a zoom lens albeit a rather clunky, old-fashioned one.
Eric Rohmer : interviews / edited by Fiona Handyside.
In some of the most memorable scenes from both films the combination of a highly mobile camera and the paradoxical need for a relatively discreet camera presence leads to extraordinary results. Delphine The Green Ray defends her vegetarianism to a group of friends-of-a-friend.
For example, in the famous scene in The Green Ray where Delphine has to defend her vegetarianism to a group of friends-of-a-friend, the camera starts on Delphine then moves to the right as a character places a plate of pork chops onto the table. The camera moves around the table as the other characters help themselves to meat and ask Delphine facetious questions about vegetarianism, then zooms forward, framing her in a single shot that underlines her isolation from the group.
It is a brilliant piece of comic timing that allows the camera and audience to sympathise with Delphine. This approach allowed Maintigneux to capture the crowds unnoticed, her framing sometimes echoing holiday snapshots and sometimes seeming like an ethnographic observation of lifeguards moving their watch tower, children building sandcastles and people jumping in and out of the waves. The interviews in this book offer a range of insights into the theoretical, critical, and practical circumstances of Rohmer's remarkably coherent body of films. They also allow Rohmer to act as his own critic, providing an array of readings concerning his interest in setting, season, color, and narrative.
This book reproduces little-known interviews alongside detailed discussions from Cahiers and Positif, many produced in English here for the first time. Choice and Chance.
Eric Rohmer Reviewed and Interviewed. Rohmers Perceval.
Related Eric Rohmer: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers Series)
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