Monday, March 29, 2010

La Collectionneuse (Eric Rohmer, 1967)

With the fourth film in Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales, I believe that this is possibly the most astounding example of Rohmer’s aesthetically soothing but intellectually stimulating style. It is not as good as My Night at Maud’s, but it is just as complex, detailing a man temporary resigned from life at a summer villa and a subtle mental game he plays with a notoriously easy woman also residing there. The premise seems to be that she wishes to seduce him in order to add him to her ‘collection,’ while his rigid morality and egoism, as well as another woman on leave to London, prevents him from giving in. It’s a careful, airtight progression, marked out bit-by-bit by one of Rohmer’s typical introspective narrations; every spoken word is of the utmost importance in guiding the story along, while the onscreen action seems secondary. The picturesque by-the-beach villa and nearby seaport, rendered in many a glorious, vibrant long shot provides a relaxed visual counterpoint to the busy thoughts and dilemmas the characters undergo.

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