The Éric Rohmer Collection: The Marquise of O [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - America - Arrow Films
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (31st December 2017).
The Film

BAFTA Film Award (Best Costume Design): Moidele Bickel (won) - BAFTA Awards 1977
Grand Prize of the Jury: Éric Rohmer (won) - Cannes Film Festival 1976
Palme d'Or: Éric Rohmer (nominated) - Cannes Film Festival 1976
Film Award in Gold (Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role): Edith Clever (won), Film Award in Gold (Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role): Bruno Ganz (won), Film Award in Gold (Best Production Design): Bernhard Frey, Hervé Grandsart, Helo Gutschwager, Rolf Keden and Roger von Moellendorff(won), and Film Award in Gold (Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role): Edda Seippel (nominated) - German Film Awards 1976
Guild Film Award - Gold (German Film): Peter Handke (won) - Guild of German Art House Cinemas 1978
Chaplin Shoe (Best Actress): Edith Clever (won) - Munich Film Festival 1977
NBR Award (Best Foreign Language Film): The Marquise of O… (won) - National Board of Review, USA 1976
NSFC Award (Best Cinematography): Néstor Almendros (2nd Place) and NSFC Award (Best Director): Éric Rohmer (3rd Place) - National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 1977

"The undersigned declares that, without her knowing how, she became pregnant. The father of the child she is bearing is asked to report himself. We have, for family reasons, decided to marry him." So reads the letter posted in an Italian gazette by Julietta the Marquise of O… (Edith Clever ), a young widow of heretofore unblemished reputation with two well-bred daughters. Months before, the citadel commanded by her father the Colonel (Peter Lühr) was stormed by the Russian army and Julietta was saved from a fate worse than death at the hands of soldiers by their lieutenant colonel The Count (Bruno Ganz, Nosferatu the Vampyre). Although her father vowed to "retort with shot and shell" and carry on as if his family were not there, he surrenders peacefully to The Count upon learning of his heroics in defending Julietta's honor. The Colonel is sent off prepare to leave the conquered citadel, having been given his freedom and permission to take his family wherever he wishes, while the upset Julietta is left there to rest under the influence of a sleeping draught. When she wakes, Julietta wishes to thank her savior only to learn from his father that The Count has already left. Sometime later, the family is notified that The Count was killed in battle; it is thus a shock when he turns up at their home in town and proposes marriage to Julietta. Although The Colonel and his wife (Edda Seippel) feel that The Count's surprising romantic fervor – the image of her as a swan he remembers from his childhood on his parents' estate – seems rather abrupt, they agree that the marriage seems like a good match. Julietta, however, had vowed never to remarry but is urged to think it over by her parents. The Count, on the other hand, is impatient for an answer since he has a pressing assignment in Naples; but he is willing to give it up in order to await her answer. The family takes in The Count as their guest even as the parents argue that he would not be such a suitable mate if he were to throw away his military career, and Julietta feels guilty because she cannot give him an answer. They come to the agreement that The Count should go to Naples and that Julietta will not entertain any other proposals in his absence. Julietta starts to become more worried about her own poor health when she confides to her mother that symptoms she is feeling are like those when she was pregnant with her second child. Her mother jests "Perhaps you'll give birth to a fantasy! The father will be Morpheus or one of his pageant of dreams…" (fitting as the film had earlier partially recreated onscreen Henry Fuseli's 1781 painting "The Nightmare"). As months pass and the signs are undeniable, Julietta sends for a doctor ( Eduard Linkers, Mr. Arkadin) and deems his diagnosis of her as a malicious insult even though she concedes that he has no motive to want to offend or humiliate her. When a midwife (Ruth Drexel) confirms that she is pregnant, Julietta desperately asks whether it possible to conceive without knowing it (the midwife replies that she knows of no other case than that of the Virgin Mary). While her mother says she could forgive a misstep, she takes offense a lie to avoid her anger, but Julietta insists that her conscience is clear. Her mother nevertheless disowns her and her father communicates in a dictated letter that he wishes her to leave and hopes to be spared the misery of ever seeing her again. Julietta is in danger of cracking under the emotional strain until her father attempts to claim her children and she stands up to him. Returning to the estate she inherited from her late husband, Julietta gives up trying to persuade her parents of her innocence and bows "to the holy and inscrutable laws of the universe", accepting her fate and resolving to put all her energy into the upbringing of her children. She cannot, however, bear the idea of a stigma on her third child, and resolves to find his father even though she cannot imagine marrying someone who "could only have sprung from the blackest and filthiest mire where he belongs." The Count returns from Naples and, upon learning of Julietta's situation from her brother ( Otto Sander , Wings of Desire), shocks everyone including Julietta by renewing his proposal with "absolute confidence in her innocence." Although The Colonel and his wife are justified in suspecting The Count himself of being the father of Julietta's unborn child, she insists that he must be the only one who is above suspicion: "One cannot rescue a woman and take advantage of her at the same time."

The Marquise of O is a departure from the modern settings of Rohmer's "Moral Tales", presenting the thought processes and moral sense of its female protagonist with the same degree of complexity usually afford to the aforementioned series' males who here are just as rigid even if we are not privy to their inner workings. The mother who says aloud she would "rather believe in some mysterious action of fate than in the infamy of a daughter" is afforded more depth and agency than Julietta who is just as concerned that the father of her child is not a scoundrel as her father is that he comes from a suitable background (or at least one that can be suitably elevated with some financial support); but how can a rapist not be the "scum of the earth" even if he attempts to make amends in restoring his victim's honor? Julietta, however, tells the perpetrator "I would never have thought you were a devil if when I first saw you, you had not seemed like an angel!" The film possesses a light comic warmth that anticipates Rohmer's later "Comedies and Proverbs" series of films with an optimistic spin on the ultimate moral choices of its characters. The film was photographed by the great Néstor Almendros (Days of Heaven) who recalls in his book "Man with a Camera" that the film's visual austerity was a collaboration with himself, Rohmer, the set and costume departments, and the long-dead architect of the two-hundred year old location. Shooting in a villa designed to take advantage of daylight in every room, Rohmer depended almost completely on natural light, utilizing mirrors to bounce fill lighting and balance contrast (an approach not that far removed from that of La Collectionneuse, Almendros' first work in color and third collaboration with Rohmer). The night scenes were shot with new high-speed film and the same fast lenses that John Alcott was utilizing at the same time on Barry Lyndon (save the Zeiss f/0.7 lens designed for NASA) with candlelight and some minor fill. Almendros had to convince costume designer Moidele Bickel that the pure white fabrics she chose for the wardrobe and set decoration would overexpose on film and the textures would not be retained unless they were dyed in English tea. The whites in the wardrobe (from Julietta's dresses to the Count's coat and trousers) do indeed look white onscreen against marble statues, greenery, and villa walls which painted gray to bring out other hues in the faces of the actors. The photography is as reliant upon symmetrical, painterly compositions (including one inspired by Henry Fuseli's "The Nightmare") over camera movement as the actors' performances are on mannered stillness and moving within the confines of the frame.


César (Best Cinematography): Néstor Almendros (nominated) and César (Best Sound): Jean-Pierre Ruh (nominated) - César Awards, 1980
Critics Award (Best Film): Éric Rohmer (won) - French Syndicate of Cinema Critics, 1980

One day while hunting with his spears outside the grounds of his castle, Perceval le Gallois (Cycling with Molière's Fabrice Luchini) encounters five knights on horseback that he first mistakes for devils then angels. He questions them as to what they are and the purpose of their armor and weapons, and immediately decides that he wants to meet King Arthur and become a knight to the misery of his mother (Tess' Pascale de Boysson) who had raised him in ignorance after having lost her knighted husband and two elder sons. Setting off for King Arthur's castle, Perceval naively violates the three rules of chivalry related to him by his mother – to attend church regularly, to aid a damsel in distress but never force himself upon her ("A kiss from a damsel is much, if she consents to kiss you; but anything beyond that, I forbid you"), and to associate himself only with worth men – by mistaking the tent of a knight (Roselyne and the Lions's Jacques Le Carpentier) for a church and kissing a maiden (The Tree, The Mayor, and the Mediatheque's Clémentine Amouroux) without her consent. Believing that a maiden "who yields her mouth, soon yields the rest," de Goort resolves to punish her until he can avenge himself on the youth. Meanwhile, Perceval arrives at the court of King Arthur and runs into The Red Knight (Fantomas Unleashed's Antoine Baud) who has stolen a golden goblet from the Round Table as part of pattern of harassment against the king. Disappointed upon meeting King Arthur (Leon Morin, Priest's Marc Eyraud) and his knights, Perceval decides he wants to "be" the Red Knight, and arrogant knight Seneschal Kay (The French Lieutenant's Woman's Gérard Falconetti) challenges him to take the Red Knight's armor and weapons. Perceval challenges the Red Knight and easily defeats him, whereupon he dons his armor and weapons and vows not to return to the kingdom until he is able to avenge the young maiden slapped by Seneschal Kay for smiling at him. At this point, Perceval starts to learn from his mistakes and learns how to fight and relearns the tenets of chivalry from Gornemant de Goort (Revenge of the Musketeers' Raoul Billerey). Going on his way, Perceval gets lost on horseback and happens upon a castle of The Fisher King (Is Paris Burning?'s Michel Etcheverry) but he holds too closely to the rule of not speaking too much for fear of appearing foolish and does not ask despite his burning curiosity about a ritual he observes in which he and the King are shown a spear that bleeds on its own and a maiden passing through the room with golden grail to serve someone of which he knows not. Finding the castle empty the next morning, Perceval leaves and is confronted by a with ('s ) who tells him that his silence has cursed him ("Cursed is he who in fine weather waits for finer weather still") when he should have spoken up. He next happens upon a castle occupied solely by the beautiful Blanchefleur (Gradiva's Arielle Dombasle) who seduces him into defending her diminished kingdom against her enemies. Defeating the "savage knight" Aguingeron (That Most Important Thing: Love's Sylvain Levignac), Perceval spares him from death and orders him to King Arthur's court to deliver the message that he will not return until he can avenge the maiden slapped by Kay. Promising to return to Blanchefleur and marry her after he visits his mother, he encounters more challenges in the forest and word soon reaches King Arthur about the reputation of the Welsh knight that he decides to leave the kingdom with his knights and seek Perceval out. Perceval avenges the maiden slapped by Kay without even realizing it and is offered a place at the Round Table; however, he is still haunted by the mystery of the spear and the grail and must follow his own path in search of answers.

A thorough departure from the naturalism in storytelling, setting, and photographic style of Éric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales and his previous historical adaptation The Marquise of O, Perceval – based on the classic text "Perceval le Gallois" by Chrétien de Troyes as translated by Rohmer himself – takes on the deliberately stylized and artificial form akin somewhere to a stage play or a medieval entertainment shooting on studio sets of metal trees, artificial grass, Styrofoam castles, and painted studio flats against a large cyclorama with minstrels providing music, sound effects, and sung narrative accompaniment (also quite a contrast to the stripped-down naturalism of Robert Bresson's Lancelot du Lac). Buoyed by an exuberant lead performance by Luchini and its song-score, Perceval can be as moving as it is outright funny: from the abrupt choreography of the jousting and sword play to the ways in which the rules of chivalry both place knights in peril and create technicalities that can also get them out of trouble, particularly in the trials of Gauvain (Tell No One's André Dussollier) – from which texts make an extended departure from Perceval's narrative – who is challenged to a duel at the kingdom of Escavalon to clear his name of a charge of treason. Taking to the road, he must remain on guard against being taken or wounded, and is mistaken for the elder daughter (Loulou's Frédérique Cerbonnet) of King Thibeault (The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie's Claude Jaeger) as a tradesman dressed as a knight to avoid road taxes. The mistaken identity is cleared up peacefully, but Gauvain finds himself obligated by the king's younger daughter "The Maiden with Short Sleeves" (The Aviator's Wife's Anne-Laure Meury) to joust against her elder sister's suitor for her honor, only to then find himself subsequently accepting hospitality in Escavalon where he is hated. The film ends with Perceval's vision of Christ's crucifixion in which Perceval takes his place, an extended scene that is both compelling because of the music and prose lyrics but still feels abrupt without better context. However ambitious, creative, and accomplished, the film still feels like more of an outlier amidst Rohmer's other works.

The Aviator's Wife: Student François (Philippe Marlaud) has been seeing slightly older office worker Anne (The Green Ray's Marie Rivière), but her day schedule and his night schedule combined with his studies are not the only things keeping them from going further with their relationship than a few dates. Anne prefers "being available" to short term relationships rather than the "all or nothing" stance voiced by her friend (Celine's María Luisa García), and presumably François. To stay in Anne's good graces, François arranges through one of his co-workers (The Washing Machine's Philippe Caroit) to secure a cheap plumber to fix her bathroom sink. Dropping by early in the morning to leave a note about the appointment on Anne's door, he witnesses her leaving her apartment building with her airline pilot former lover Christian (Malpertuis' Mathieu Carrière). When François asks her about Christian, Anne – upset because Christian has told her that he is going back to his pregnant wife – becomes tired of his overall clinginess and his refusal to take on faith that he has nothing to worry about with her airline pilot. By chance, François happens upon Christian at a café – unlike his "chance" encounters with Anne – and sees him in the company of a blonde woman (A Tale of Winter's Haydée Caillot). Wanting to prove Christian's faithlessness to Anne, he starts trailing them across Paris. Getting off the bus with them at the Buttes Chaumont public park, his attempts to remain inconspicuous catch the attention of fellow student Lucie (Perceval's Anne-Laure Meury) who at first believes that his spying on the other couple is a ruse to pick her up. Upon learning his true motives, Lucie becomes his co-conspirator for lack of anything better to do. As they follow the other couple, Lucie posits various hypotheses not only about what they are doing and the nature of their relationship but as to whether François is going to commit a crime of passion; so fervent is his belief that he and Anne have a deeper relationship than she realizes, much to the amusement of Lucie who is irked by his notion that women have no choice when it comes to true love. Not knowing anything concrete about Christian and his blonde partner, François must decide whether to tell Anne the truth (at least as far as he believes) or take her feelings for him on faith.

The titular character never appears in the film and is only present as a photograph, the revelation of which inspires as many questions as it answers; and François himself must in the end find a scenario that he can live with to assuage his concerns about the unknown as well as the what-ifs of the possibility of a happier relationship free of doubts with another. All Rohmer films are dialogues, but The Aviator's Wife feels the most stripped-down of the Comedies and Proverbs in this regard. There is also an intimation of the influence of perception on the situations as seen by both François and Anne who are both suffering from the effects of bad sleep, with Anne retreating to her bed in all of her apartment scenes and François nodding off several times in public (with the film's only optical effect an iris-in/iris-out as François wakes in the café and sights Christian while we are unsure whether or not he has been sleeping for more than ten minutes as Lucie tells him so while they are waiting in another café for Christian and the blonde to leave a building they have entered). Besides sharing some cast members from the other Comedies and Proverbs Rosette of The Green Ray and Pauline at the Beach has a brief appearance as a perky building concierge and Full Moon in Paris' Fabrice Luchini appears as one of Anne's co-workers – as well as Rohmer's other films, A Good Marriage's Arielle Dombasle sings the end title tune.

A Good Marriage:

César (Best Original Screenplay): Éric Rohmer (nominated) - César Awards, 1983
NYFCC Award (Best Foreign Language Film): France (nominated) - New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 1982
Golden Phoenix (Best Actress): Béatrice Romand (won) and Golden Lion: Éric Rohmer (nominated) - Venice Film Festival, 1982

Returning from her holidays, junior antiques broker Sabine (The House of the Yellow Carpet's Béatrice Romand) hooks up with painter and on-and-off lover Simon (Ronin's Féodor Atkine). After a late night call from his daughter, Sabine becomes fed up with him and his promises to eventually divorce his wife and announces to her best friend Clarisse (Asterix and Obelix Take on Caesar's Arielle Dombasle) that she has had it with married men and that she has decided to get married. She does not currently know to whom she will become betrothed but is determined to do so, citing a sense of impulsivity that seems at odds with Clarisse's more romantic notion of love at first sight. Needing a change of milieu in which to find her man, Sabine attends the reception of Clarisse's friends (Pauline at the Beach's Pascal Greggory and Quartet's Virginie Thévenet) where she is introduced to Clarisse's cousin Edmond (A Very Long Engagement's André Dussollier). Although he is quickly called away on business, Sabine has decided that he is the man for her. While Clarisse encourages her interest, Sabine tells her that she must not make the first move, wanting him "to want to marry" her, although she ends up contriving another meeting with him through his interest in acquiring a piece of Jersey porcelain for his mother. They share a dinner afterwards in which she gauges his interest in her, but she tells both Clarisse and her mother (Thamila Mezbah) that she intends to make him fall for her by not sleeping with him ("An instinct that tells the female to resist the male so that he'll desire her"). When he does not come calling so soon, Sabine next contrives to meet him again by casually inviting him to her birthday party, but his late arrival and early departure result in tears for Sabine who manages to alienate her mother, sister Lise (My Girlfriend's Boyfriend's Sophie Renoir), and her guests. As Sabine becomes more desperate, will her own pursuit of an ideal engender the respect and idolization she had hoped to encourage in Edmond?

A simultaneously comical and biting meditation on idealized and childishly romanticized notions of true love that are not outgrown but reconfigured in detrimental ways by yet another Comedies and Proverbs character in love with an image; in this case more so that of marriage as a whole than the individual object of desire. When Sabine runs into a now-married former flame (The Green Ray's Vincent Gauthier) and she tells him of her plans, their discussion turns into a debate as to whether her decision to be a housewife and not work skews the male-female power dynamic in favor of the breadwinner or her notion that marriage as a "pooling of a couple's talents." She admits that she knows almost nothing about Edmond, but he must be able to fulfill her needs because she "couldn't be in love with a failure." The film establishes and encourages sympathy for Sabine by exposing all of her flaws, including her over-eager attempts at encouraging Edmond's romantic interest in her – expressed as her need for better company such as himself rather than the "mediocre" crowd that are her party guests – as well as her habit of blaming others when she is unsuccessful, including her advocates Clarisse, Lise, and her mother. Although she maintains her composer as she is devastatingly let down with a variation of "it's not you, it's me," Rohmer leaves it more ambiguous here than in any of the other Comedies and Proverbs as to whether she even takes notice of the man in the final scene (Dobermann's Patrick Lambert) who the camera's focus intimates may be her Mr. Right.

Pauline at the Beach:

FIPRESCI Prize (Competition): Éric Rohmer (won), OCIC Award - Honorable Mention (Forum of New Cinema): Éric Rohmer (won), Silver Berlin Bear (Best Director): Éric Rohmer (won), and Golden Berlin Bear: Éric Rohmer (nominated) - Berlin International Film Festival, 1983
BSFC Award (Best Screenplay): Éric Rohmer (won) - Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, 1984
Critics Award (Best Film): Éric Rohmer (won) - French Syndicate of Cinema Critics, 1984

Joining her divorced aunt Marion (It's Gradiva Who Is Calling You's Arielle Dombasle) in the Normandy commune of Granville for the last two weeks of the holidays, sixteen-year-old Pauline (A Summer's Tale's Amanda Langlet) is looking forward to a bit more freedom after some time with her parents in Spain. On the beach, they run into Marion's old flame Pierre ('s Pascal Greggory) and ethnologist Henri (Love and Death's Féodor Atkine) who spends much of his life abroad but is tethered to France by the Granville family villa he keeps to spend time with his daughter when he has custody. While Pierre still burns for Marion, she has quickly become interested in the exciting and exotic Henri, and their combined underlying desires turn the topic of conversation regarding Pauline's desire to make friends while on vacation to whether she has a boyfriend or is actively looking for one. Spurning Pierre's affections, Marion takes up with Henri despite Pierre's warnings that he is a womanizer. While taking windsurfing lessons from Pierre, Pauline meets the more age-appropriate Sylvain (Betty Blue's Simon de La Brosse). Stumbling across the pair's first erotic fumblings in Henri's bed, Marion thinks Pauline would better benefit from experience and suggests that Pierre should pursue her niece; more so when she catches local sweets vendor Louisette (Immoral Women's Rosette) at Henri's with Sylvain and believes that Henri has leant them his bed when in actuality Sylvain had come to warn Henri and Louisette of Marion's arrival. When Pierre sights Louisette naked in Henri's bedroom, he believes it to be the ammunition he needs to disabuse Marion of her attraction to Henri only for Marion to pass on her misapprehension to him, and eventually to Pauline.

While fruit ripe for the picking has always been an exploitable concept in dramatic and comedic genres – particularly in the seventies and eighties domestically and abroad – the suspense of when and who actually takes a back seat – and is indeed irrelevant – to the selfish concerns of adult characters. Henri tells Marion that it is time that Pauline "lose her cherry" to get the younger girl out of the way, and Marion's attempting to foist Pierre on her niece is to redirect his obsessive interest. Pierre is the one waiting for the idealized lover here, and his unswaying moral path is not a particularly positive attribute. However noble his intentions appear to be, the more insistent he is on the truth, the more unbearable he becomes to all of the other characters. Although the others have reasons other than saving Pauline from devastation by keeping Sylvain's apparent liaison with Louisette from her, Pierre eventually tells her and insists that Marion corroborate him in response to being called a liar after he tries to warn Pauline off Sylvain. Marion conveys a degree of self-denial as well as having settled for less-than-perfect when being excited by the spark of attracting, while Henri not only concedes his hypocrisy in being "annoyed" with Marion's clinginess but that he would be a fool to pass it up but also happily reveals that he is not the Machiavellian snake that Pierre sees (maneuvering the deceit involving Louisette and Sylvain without thinking and letting others inaction and assumptions carry it through). Young Pauline proves to be the most mature of the six principals, particularly in her reactions not only to the skewed advice offered to her by her elders but also to Sylvain's vindication. The most dramatically satisfying of the Comedies and Proverbs, Pauline at the Beach is more complex thematically and in terms of characterization than it seems on the surface and it is deservedly one of the better known of Rohmer's later films.

Full Moon in Paris:

César (Best Film): Éric Rohmer (nominated), César (Best Actress): Pascale Ogier (nominated), César (Best Actress, posthumously): Pascale Ogier (nominated), César (Best Supporting Actor): Fabrice Luchini (nominated), César (Best Director): Éric Rohmer (nominated), César (Best Original Screenplay): Éric Rohmer (nominated) - César Awards, France 1985
Critics Award (Best Film): Éric Rohmer (won) - French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 1985
(Best Actress): Pascale Ogier (won) and (Golden Lion) Éric Rohmer (nominated) - Venice Film Festival 1984

"He who has two women loses his soul, he who has two houses loses his mind" says the proverb that inspired the fourth of filmmaker Éric Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs films Full Moon in Paris. Having made one "smooth transition" after another in dwellings (from her parent's home to that of her first boyfriend) and relationships (having fallen for another man while in the process of leaving the current one), twenty-three-year-old lamp designer Louise (Pascale Ogier, Le Pont du Nord) is currently living in the suburbs of Marne-la-Vallée in an ultra-modern flat with architect boyfriend Remi (Tchéky Karyo, The Bear). Although her covert decision not to rent her small apartment in Paris but to turn it into a pied-à-terre seems motivated by a shallow desire to stay out late in the city on Friday nights, she assures both "early to bed and early to rise" Remi and her lusty married journalist friend Octave () that it will be a place for her to be alone ("The one experience I've missed is loneliness, and the pain it causes"). Staying in her apartment on the weekends, she discovers that life is one big party as her friends have other obligations and cannot drop everything at the last moment (as she believed herself incapable of because of Remi); even her effete guy friend Octave's (Fabrice Luchini, Bicycling with Molière) interest in her turns out to be more carnal than intellectual. She has conflicting feelings about her newfound freedom ("It's hard to live in two places. When I'm in one, I want to be in the other"). Although she has encouraged Remi to have female friends as she has male friends, she experiences jealousy when Octave claims to have seen Remi with her sophisticated, divorced friend Camille (Virginie Thévenet, Rohmer's A Good Marriage). It takes a "purely physical" encounter with a traveling saxophonist (Christian Vadim) for Louise to decide whether to embrace domesticity or the uncertainty of carefree solitude; but she may be in for a rude awakening when she gets home.

No formulaic romantic comedy or saucy French treat (despite Film Movement's 2015 trailer), Full Moon in Paris is often intelligent and sometimes laugh out loud funny not for any sight gags or punchlines but for the way it exposes the through processes of its characters without judgment. Although attached, Louise earnestly tries to explore solitude without hurting her boyfriend or leading on Octave; she fails in both cases out of a naiveté that seems as sincere as it may be exasperating (the titular full moon is offered by an artist Louise meets played by László Szabó as an influence on suggestible souls). The ending is not a sting-in-the-tail "just desserts", merely a consequence that leads to emotional growth rather than regret. Ogier, daughter of actress Bulle Ogier (Celine and Julie Go Boating), is a charming presence and makes relatable such a character who allows herself the freedom to explore concepts that we may feel we already know (if only because we have been told how to feel about them); although we will never know her full range as an actress since she tragically died of a heart attack at twenty-five less than two months after the film was released. Karyo, who a few years later would play the other man in a more overtly sexual type arrangement between an otherwise committed couple in Husbands and Lovers, is effective but understated as the physical man (both architect and builder) who is the most capable of the three of expressing his feelings verbally without pretense. Luchini as usual is wonderfully theatrical and entertainingly embodies the pretentious sophisticate ("One doesn't see a woman: one sees woman") who insists behind his wife's back that his bourgeois marriage is more open than it may really be. Without complex lighting choices, camera moves, or diffusing fog and smoke, the cinematography of Renato Berta (Merci Pour le Chocolat) looks every bit as eighties chic as anything from the period by Jean-Jacques Beineix (Diva). The attractive cast, light comic tone, and surface gloss perhaps make the film Rohmer's most accessible but it is certainly not unrewarding to his more analytical fans.

The Green Ray:

FIPRESCI Prize: Éric Rohmer (won), Golden Ciak (Best Film): Éric Rohmer (won), Golden Lion : Éric Rohmer (won), and Pasinetti Award (Best Actress): Marie Rivière (won) -

When her best friend suddenly cancels on their vacation, office worker Delphine (Life the Way It Is's Marie Rivière) is upset that she has only two weeks to find another companion, and even more so upset by the suggestion of various friends that she indeed go on vacation alone in order to meet a man just two years after breaking things off with her fiancé Jean-Pierre. Rather than join her sister's family in Ireland as a pity invitation, she decides to join acquaintance Françoise (Immoral Women's Rosette) and her family in Cherbourg, but the more accommodating her hosts try to be, the more unbearable she finds the company of others. Striking off alone, she plans to stay at Jean-Pierre's cottage in the Alps while he is away but winds up leaving after only a day and returning to Paris. After wandering around "like an idiot" for a few days, she runs into by chance an old friend since married "again" with a young child who offers her the use of her brother-in-law's apartment in Biarritz for the remainder of her two weeks of vacation. Spending several days alone on the beach surrounded by families, couples, and casual hookups, she makes no effort to connect with anyone until she meets the more forward Swedish vacationer Lena (singer Carita) who, in contrast, is engaged but enjoys the freedom of traveling alone, meeting other men, and throwing caution to the wind. Although Delphine disagrees with Lena's philosophy in theory and in practice, she may just meet Mr. Right when she least expects it; but will she take the time to realize it? The most intriguing and ambiguous of the Comedies and Proverbs cycle, The Green Ray has the most complex character in a seeming shrinking violet who manages to draw all attention to herself – announcing that she is a vegetarian and her moral reasons for it as her Cherbourg hosts tuck into pork, claiming sea sickness when offered to go yachting, and telling her host's children that they are destroying nature when they bring her flowers – but so affecting in simultaneous craving for solitude and crippling loneliness. The film at times seems to be trying to capture the spirit of fellow Left Bank New Wave filmmaker Jacques Rivette (Celine and Julie Go Boating) with references to spiritualism, pulp literature (Le Rayon Vert also being the title of a Jules Verne novel), Delphine's subconscious quest to see "the green ray" – an elusive flash of light just before the sun sinks below the horizon only visible under certain atmospheric conditions – signified throughout by the talismanic appearance of the color green throughout from playing cards Delphine stumbles across in her walks to the wardrobe accents worn by certain characters (and Delphine's complementary red wardrobe) to Biarritz shop "Le Rayon Vert" which Delphine comes across in the company of her would-be Mr. Right (Story of Women's Vincent Gauthier). Editor María Luisa García (À l'aventure) appears briefly as Delphine's friend Manuela who suggests she take a room at her grandmother's rooming house in sunny Barcelona.

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend:

César (Most Promising Actress): Sophie Renoir (nominated) and César (Best Screenplay, Original or Adaptation): Éric Rohmer (nominated) - César Awards, 1988

City hall worker Blanche (Chocolat's Emmanuelle Chaulet) meets by chance at lunch computer school student Lea (A Good Marriage's Sophie Renoir) looking for a partner with whom to eat to avoid being hassled by guys. Both coming from the sticks to the satellite city Cergy-Pontoise, the pair commiserates on city living with Blanche living in a new apartment building and Lea "homeless" living with her chemist boyfriend Fabien (Oasis of the Zombies' Eric Viellard) but she feels that their relationship is coming to an end. Unattached and lonely, Blanche provides a sympathetic ear as Lea discusses the ways in which she and Fabien are mismatched, offering up what help she can in suggesting that she teach Lea how to swim so that she may adapt some of her boyfriend's weekend hobbies like windsurfing. At the pool, the pair run into handsome engineer Alexandre (Too Beautiful to Die's François-Eric Gendron), and Lea immediately lights upon Blanche's attraction to the ladies man who is currently dating one of Blanche's co-workers Adrienne (Perceval's Anne-Laure Meury). Blanche admits that she freezes up in the presence of men when she is attracted to them and would rather be the one pursued, and indeed has been waiting for true love to find her. The sexually freer Lea, on the other hand, is also interested in the exciting Alexandre and desires to break away from Fabien "in easy stages." When Lea goes on vacation – ostensibly to stay with her parents but actually going off with another man as part of a group – she hopes to push Blanche and Fabien together through their mutual interests. After Blanche joins Fabien and Alexandre at the French Open, she learns that Adrienne has been singing her praises to Fabien but is unsure of her motives since she cannot possible see her as a romantic rival. Blanche and Fabien soon succumb to their attraction, after which Blanche tells Fabien that it can never happen again and that it should remain their secret; but will she feel the same way when Lea returns from her vacation and reveals that the other man (with whom she did not sleep) did not turn out to be her Mr. Right after all. Will Lea remaining with Fabien push Blanche to pursue Alexandre, or is Lea merely biding her time with her old boyfriend while pursuing a new one?

The sixth and final of Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend – the UK title much more accurate than the American Boyfriends and Girlfriends in that the former is a perversion of the opening proverb "My friend's friends are my friends" – is perhaps the most conventional in terms of story with the entanglement of couples and romantic maneuverings to shuffle the order of couplings. Blanche's "moral" decision to consider her girlfriends' boyfriends' off-limits and her determination to wait for Mr. Right do not become the manias of many of his other protagonists who pursue them to their ends whether they lead to happiness or not. The happy ending, far less ambiguously so than The Green Ray because Blanche's loneliness is not so debilitating, perhaps frees Rohmer from his earlier concerns while paving the way for The Four Seasons quartet – A Tale of Springtime, A Winter's Tale, A Summer's Tale, and An Autum's Tale – while also taking on more diverse projects like Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle which is itself a quartet in one film, the anthology Rendezvous in Paris, the period adaptations The Lady and the Duke and The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, as well as his stab at something of a conventional historical thriller with Triple Agent.

In Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle, student Mirabelle (Betty Blue's Jessica Forde) is vacationing in the country and meets young painter Reinette (Joëlle Miquel) by chance when she gets a flat on her bicycle and has no idea how to repair a puncture. Reinette shows her the converted hayloft in which she lives and the paintings which are surrealistic without her quite understanding the term, and tells Mirabelle of her plans to study at university in Paris the following year having complete high school through correspondence because of her inability or outright defiance of structured learning (although she will make an exception to an art college education). The two young women bond as Reinette shows Mirabelle the countryside and shares with her contemplation of "the blue hour" that moment before dawn "when nature holds its breath." Despite how high-strung Reinette reveals herself to be, Mirabelle invites her to share her apartment in Paris rather than commute twenty minutes back and forth from the residence of some cousins. Reinette finds herself at sea in the city, with Mirabelle not as helpful a guide as Reinette was in the country to her, and not ruthless enough to deal with anyone from unhelpful passersby to a belligerent waiter (Muriel, or the Time of Return's Philippe Laudenbach), requiring Mirabelle's intervention. A series of encounters together an individually with beggars, a kleptomaniac (Yasmine Haury), and a swindler (The Green Ray's Marie Rivière) reveal their irreconcilable, self-contradictory, and sometimes reckless or self-defeating attitudes towards life. When a dispirited Reinette considers returning to the country when money troubles get the better of her, Mirabelle helps her out however by teacher her and loquacious art dealer (Cycling with Molière's Fabrice Luchini) the value of silence.

Although Rohmer had shown more of an interest in and a sympathy for female protagonists in his later films – notably the Comedies and Proverbs cycle and the Four Seasons films – there is a certain Rivette-ian aspect to the non-pulpy "adventures" of his pair of protagonists in this variation on "The Country Mouse and the City Mouse" that somehow feels like an incomplete serial that leaves us wanting more. Forde is a capable performer but it is difficult for her – not to mention he many recognizable faces from other Rohmer films including A Good Marriage's Béatrice Romand and The Aviator's Wife's – not to be overshadowed by Miquel, while her high-strung characterization prevents the character from skewing the balance of audience identification too far away from sharing it with Forde's Mirabelle. The film also features future filmmaker Jean-Claude Brisseau (The Exterminating Angels) for whom this film's editor María Luisa García would serve as editor, costume designer, and art director on his films.

The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque:

FIPRESCI Prize - Special Mention (Out-of-Competition): Éric Rohmer (won) - Montréal World Film Festival, 1993

Structured around a series of events that would not have occurred had each character not done something they were supposed to do, The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque opens with socialist candidate Julien Dechaumes (Queen Margot's Pascal Greggory) sulking at his chateau in the countryside in a village of which he is mayor after losing the elections in Paris and planning to preparing for a parliament run. While his novelist girlfriend Bérénice Beaurivage (The Blue Villa's Arielle Dombasle) believes he should quit the country for Paris if he is to make a serious run, Julien laments the "rural exodus" that sees farms disappearing, houses being bought up by weekenders, and locals leaving for the city. Whereas Bérénice believes that those who leave are attracted to the allure of the city, Julien believes that they go there for the jobs. With the backing of the Ministry of Culture, Julien conceives of creating a mediatheque – a combined book and video library with a swimming pool and theatre, ostensibly for the cultural edification of the locals utilizing local workers and traditional methods of building in keeping with the look and feel of the village; however, local math teacher Marc Rossignol (In the House's Fabrice Luchini) believes that Julien – who he perceives as a "gentleman farmer" who has made his country home his "county seat" like a medieval landowner – has undertaken the project as an insidious way of urbanizing the village to the point of eventually turning it into a far-flung suburb of Paris. Just as Julien presses on with his concept in spite of becoming disillusioned with the famous architect's (Michel Jaouen) modern takes on his concept in which the traditional look of the project has become a literal façade, a magazine story focusing on young politicians in which journalist Blandine Lenoir (Clémentine Amouroux) interviews the locals on their feelings about the mediatheque is reworked by her editor (The Lady and the Duke's François-Marie Banier) to focus on the incendiary statements of Rossignol and his symbolic concern for an ancient tree on the protected land that is marked for development. While Bérénice – who had met with Blandine and the editor to research a novel set in the magazine industry – plots revenge through fiction, Julien finds his challenges that Rossignol voice his objections in person refused. When Julien's teenage daughter Véga (Jessica Schwing) – spending the holidays with him and lonely since her visiting friends went back to the city – makes friends by chance with Rossignol's precocious ten-year-old daughter Zoé (A Heart in Winter's Galaxie Barbouth), it affords the younger girl the chance to speak on behalf of herself and her father, voicing not only his concerns but her own more practical ones. Julien listens and is taken aback, but he is still a politician.

Unjustly little known outside of its native France, The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque is the best of Rohmer's later works (excepting the final two entries of the Four Seasons quartet A Summer's Tale and An Autumn Tale that came out after it but were certainly developed before) in its comedic detailing of a utopian attempt to disrupt the status quo that sees city slickers vacationing in the country – in this case, the commune Saint-Juire-Champgillon – and bumpkins flocking to the city in search of something lacking in the other. Julien seems well-meaning and our sympathies lie with him at first; particularly in contrast to Rossignol who at first seems like one of those weekenders who protests change that might destroy his view (vaunting the ancient farmers whose shaping of the land lead to the painterly look of the landscape as "artists"). As Julien's project seems more and more compromised – and Julien himself starts to comes across as disingenuous during his interview (with no help from Bérénice who unknowingly makes a fool of herself in attempting to engage intellectually with intellectuals, however bourgeoisie), Rossignol proves just as frustrating a character to like because he dodges the idea of actually taking action be it running for council or doing more than shouting into the wind. In contrast, his wise-beyond-her-years daughter proves the foil to both men who explain away the outcome of their efforts with little regard for her input. Greggory and Dombasle provide a thematically relevant closing song accompanied by the town's own chorus.


The Marquise of O: Released theatrically stateside by New Line Cinema – during its more daring pre-A Nightmare on Elm Street days when they traded in a mix of art films (John Waters' Pink Flamingos, Borowcyzk's Immoral Tales, Visconti's Conversation Piece) and exploitation (Slave of the Cannibal God,The Streetfighter,The Evil Dead) – and in the UK by Gala Film Distributors, The Marquise of O arrived on DVD stateside from Fox LorberFox Lorber in a PAL-converted transfer (with the UK DVD release from Artificial Eye only marginally better). Rohmer's entire oeuvre was remastered in high definition in France, and The Marquise of O has thus far only been available as part of the twenty-two film, fifty-two disc Blu-ray/DVD combo Coffret Éric Rohmer boxed set. Stateside, Film Movement released the film on Blu-ray as an early entry in their Film Movement Classics line. While Film Movement's transfer is derived from a 2K restoration, Arrow's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 pillarboxed fullscreen transfer seems to be derived from a different master. While the Film Movement looked fine for the time, in comparison to the Arrow version the Film Movement looks overbright and possibly boosted while the available light and augmented candlelight has a more delicate and painterly look on Arrow's version. Rohmer's fans will find the cost of the set worth the extra expense alone for the film.

Perceval: Released theatrically stateside by New Yorker Films, Perceval has only been available on English-friendly DVD in a PAL-converted transfer from Fox Lorber. Shot in a studio with a full lighting rig on the sets and the background cyclorama – in contrast to the available light look of most of Rohmer's films – the film looks crisp and sharp throughout in terms of both cinematography and the 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 pillarboxed fullscreen encode with only one sole instance of noticeable damage that apparently could not be painted out. We are unable to compare it to the French release in the Coffret Rohmer Intégral Combo set, but Arrow's rendition should prove satisfactory.

The Aviator's Wife: Released theatrically by New Yorker Films in the United States and Artificial Eye in the United Kingdom, The Aviator's Wife was unavailable in both countries for much of the eighties with tape releases from Fox Lorber and Connoisseur Video respectively in the nineties, followed by DVD releases from Fox Lorber and Artificial Eye (also available in the eight disc The Éric Rohmer Collection). Shot in 16mm and blown-up to 35mm, the film probably looks as good as it can given the dark interiors and shooting on overcast exteriors that give the film a chilly and dull look that is in no way a fault of the color correction.

A Good Marriage: Released theatrically stateside by United Artists Classics and Gala Film in the UK, A Good Marriage was released on tape in the UK by Connoisseur Video and then on DVD from Fox Lorber in the US and in the UK exclusively in the eight-disc The Eric Rohmer Collection. Photographed on 35mm, the film has a cleaner and less grainy look compared to the blow-ups even though it to makes use of minimal artificial light. The palette favors an autumnal warm look that is nicely rendered in Arrow's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 fullscreen. Highlights almost burn out in a couple shots lit solely through daylight through windows without clipping on the video transfer.

Pauline at the Beach: The last of Rohmer's collaborations with Almendros – who had returned to Paris briefly in between American assignments Sophie's Choice and Places in the Heart to photograph both this film and François Truffaut's Confidentially YoursPauline at the Beach was released theatrically stateside by Orion Classics and in the UK by Gala Film. MGM's domestic DVD was non-anamorphic 1.66:1 and presumably derived from Image's CinemaDisc laserdisc while Arrow Films' anamorphic UK DVD was also available in the eight disc The Éric Rohmer Collection that paired the six Comedies and Proverbs with the earlier "moral tale" and the box set exclusive The Marquise of O. Beating Arrow to the Blu-ray market was the English-riendly French edition from Potemkine Films available in both the Comedies et Proverbes dual-format set and the fifty-two disc Coffret Rohmer Intégral Combo boxed sets, as well as Kino Lorber's domestic edition. While the French disc was open-matte and 1080i50 – presumably utilizing a television master – the American disc was framed at 1.66:1 and 1080p24. Arrow's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.66:1 pillarboxed widescreen version presumably uses the same master as the Kino edition, and that is a good thing as the screencaps of the French disc reveal a too-bright image while the widescreen versions feature a more pleasing balance of light and shadow. Almendros shot the film with his usual reliance on available light and only three lights, while the night interiors were more dependent on the 400 ASA filmstock than artificial illumination other than practical fixtures with skintones looking deliberately a bit warmer than in the daylight scenes. Fine grain is retained throughout giving the film an enhanced sense of depth helped greatly by Rohmer's preference for plan-séquence.

Full Moon in Paris: Released theatrically stateside through Orion Classics and in the UK by Artificial Eye, and on DVD by Fox Lorber in a PAL-NTSC conversion and in the UK by Artificial Eye, Full Moon in Paris made its Blu-ray debut in France last year as part of the twenty-two film, fifty-two disc Blu-ray/DVD combo set Coffret Éric Rohmer as well as part of the six-film, thirteen-disc combo set Comedies et Proverbes, followed by a stateside Blu-ray release from Film Movement. Arrow's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 pillarboxed fullscreen Blu-ray probably comes from the same HD master as the Film Movement – it is not one of the Arrow transfers that sports new restoration credits, starting with the Les Films du Losange logo – and the transfer nicely contrasts the predominant grays, blacks, and whites of the sets and wardrobe with some boldly saturated accents of color from furniture to scarves and party dresses.

The Green Ray: Released theatrically stateside by Orion Classics and Artificial Eye in the UK, the film was released on fullscreen DVD by (PAL-converted, of course) and Arrow Films in their respective terrirories. Potemkine Films' Blu-ray – available in both the Comedies et Proverbes dual-format set and the fifty-two disc Coffret Rohmer Intégral Combo boxed sets – was a 1080i50 master while Arrow's MPEG-4 AVC 1.66:1 master is 1080p24. Lensed in 16mm by Sophie Maintigneux (Fögi Is a Bastard) and blown-up to 35mm, the film is pleasantly grainy, lending an almost documentary feel to the filming of the scripted but improvised-sounding discussions as well as the protagonist's aimless wanderings amidst picturesque settings that are never allowed to overwhelm the narrative.

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend: Released theatrically stateside by Orion Classics and in the UK by Artificial Eye, the film received the expected PAL-converted transfer on US DVD from Fox Lorber and in the UK from Artificial Eye. Beating the Arrow release to the Blu-ray format were the French releases on the Comedies et Proverbes dual-format set and the fifty-two disc Coffret Rohmer Intégral Combo boxed sets, and Arrow's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 pillarboxed fullscreen transfer has a similar look to Full Moon in Paris with its modern city look of blocks of white and gray accented by more saturated wardrobe and décor but more dappled sunlight lending some more warmth.

Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle: Although released theatrically and on tape in the United States by New Yorker Films – and in the UK by Artificial Eye – Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle was unavailable on DVD in an English-friendly edition making Arrow's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 pillarboxed fullscreen Blu-ray not the first Blu-ray edition but the more affordable option than the fifty-two disc Coffret Rohmer Intégral Combo. Arrow's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 pillarboxed fullscreen Blu-ray of this film photographed in 16mm and blown-up to 35mm with a heavy reliance on natural lighting remains pleasingly grainy throughout.

Unreleased theatrically or on home video in the United States or the United Kingdom – possibly because the rights to the film remained with Rohmer and the title was not part of any of the major libraries licensing to the arthouse labels that were interested in releasing Rohmer's output – The Three, the Mayor and the Mediatheque is another film that made its English-friendly digital debut on the Coffret Rohmer Intégral Combo set. Arrow's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 pillarboxed fullscreen transfer of this 16mm-35mm blow-up looks less grainy than the other blow-ups in this set because of the finer grained film stock and sharper lenses of the period, looking like a nineties production while still relying on the sort of simplistic lighting setups that have served Rohmer well. Only the end credits opticals look a bit coarser and the image underneath softer than the rest of the presentation.


I would just be repeating myself if I discussed the audio specifications for these titles separately, but they are all clean-sounding LPCM 1.0 mono tracks - The Marquise of O was shot in German and remains as such (the French theatrical release had French subtitles) and there is some scattered subtitled German and unsubtitled but sometimes heavily-accented English in some of the other productions – and all films have optional English subtitles.


The Marquise of O includes the same archival interview with actor Bruno Ganz (3:10) from the Film Movement edition focusing on how the film was his first feature film leading roll and the differences between acting for the stage and on film. New to the set is "Nestor Almendros: Director of Photography" (55:55) for French television in which the cinematographer discusses his beginnings in Cuba where he first used available light, studying in Italy at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia where he met lifelong friend Luciano Tovoli (Suspiria), and making films on weekends while working as a Spanish teacher in New York before going to Paris. The bulk of the featurette focuses on his collaborations with Rohmer and Barbet Schroeder (More) and his first opportunity to shoot on color 35mm with La Collectionneuse, as well as François Truffaut (The Wild Child), with references to his more mainstream Hollywood work. The film's theatrical trailer (4:09) is also included.

Perceval is accompanied by two "Cine regards" specials: "Ciné regards: Percival" (26:16) and "Ciné regards: Éric Rohmer" (29:15). Despite their titles, the first is actually an interview with Rohmer about the film – with additional input from Fabrice Luchini, Arielle Dombasle, and Anne-Laure Meury – while the latter is a montage of behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage for the film.

The The Aviator's Wife is accompanied by "Éric Rohmer on The Aviator's Wife" (10:42) who describes the film as much a homage to Marcel Carné (Children of Paradise) as a love letter to Paris – revisiting the Buttes Charmont previously used in his short Nadja in Paris – and discussing the location shooting in which he treated the streets of Paris like a studio (shooting in the streets on the sly having once been a goal of New Wave filmmakers but now seen as just another means), as well as how the weather influenced the shooting in contrast to other films in which he scheduled scenes to take advantage of snow and rain. Also included is the earlier short documentary Changing Landscapes (23:18) from 1964 focusing on the industrialization of Paris, as well as the feature's theatrical trailer (2:29).

Extras for A Good Marriage: include "Éric Rohmer on A Good Marriage" (8:16) in which the director discusses finding the natural rhythms of the performers – comparing Romand's style of delivery favorably to comedian Fernandel (Paris Holiday), creating the décor of the settings by largely subtracting rather than adding to it, and the contrasts between the haute bourgeoisie and the petite bourgeoisie conveyed primarily through dialogue in the film, as well as an archival Interview with actor André Dussollier (3:23) in Cannes but not to represent the film (the exclusion of which was a source of controversy that year), and the film's theatrical trailer (1:57).

Extras for Pauline at the Beach include the vintage interview "Éric Rohmer on Pauline at the Beach" (13:30) which focuses on the casting of Langlet and the Rohmer's methods of testing actors, playing tape recordings of the actors practicing the text and showing an 8mm film reel of Langlet and Greggory improvising that Rohmer feels is more naturalistic than the equivalent scene in the film (which we are also shown from the previous fullscreen master). The archival interview with actress Arielle Dombasile (4:04) finds the actress questioned as to whether the situations and the attitudes of her character are restricted to a more elite section of the population, with her countering that it is her own character that is rather avant-garde, and that the other characters in the film represent a range of attitudes and social backgrounds. The theatrical trailer (1:47) is also included.

Full Moon in Paris carries over Film Movement's archival interview with actress Pascale Ogier (2:52) which focuses on her Cannes award win for best actress but also features "Éric Rohmer on Full Moon in Paris" (7:03) in which the director discusses collaborating with Ogier on the décor for the film as well as the film's color scheme. An audio interview with Éric Rohmer is offered as an alternate audio track to the feature even though it only lasts roughly fifty-odd minutes. With an interpreter translating his Rohmer's French responses to questions from a British film journalist, the discussion is wide-ranging, focusing on his writing at Cahiers du cinema while teaching literature, his collaborations with Jacques Rivette and Jean-Luc Godard, his advantage as a filmmaker over the others in that he could write his own stories and had several unpublished stories that he could turn into films (the Six Moral Tales was always conceived as a series), his later use of improvisation, his preference for unknowns over stars, as well as his attitudes towards filmmaking then and now (including his interest in digital technologies which he tried out first on The Lady and the Duke (although he would lens his final film The Romance of Astrea and Celadon in Super 16mm). Also included is the eighties TV special "Effraction: Tchéky Karyo" (53:05) shot during his turn as Othello on a production by Hans Peter Cloos focusing on his stage and film work – including Full Moon in Paris. The structure is kind of deceptive with the first five minutes or so featuring comments on the actor by director Andrzej Żuławski (L'amour Braque), his États d'âme co-star François Cluzet and producer Marie-Dominique Girodet, and former agent Martine Lapertot of Agence Artistique. The film's theatrical trailer (1:35) is also included.

The Green Ray includes "Éric Rohmer on The Green Ray" (8:52) in which the director focuses on the film as one of the few in his filmography to include music score, developing the theme himself by shuffling around the notes corresponding to the name of Bach. In "Richard Aoyade on The Green Ray" (42:52), the actor discusses the seemingly improvised dialogues of the film that were actually based on Rohmer's conversations with his actors and his non-judgmental but observational distance on problems of a generation younger than his own before moving on to a more wide ranging appreciation of the director's works. The archival interview with actress Marie Rivière (3:23) is another short television discussion focusing on her collaboration with Rohmer and the character. The disc also includes the film's theatrical trailer (2:25).

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend is limited to an on-set interview (3:20) with Chaulet, Renoir, and Gendron reuniting in Cergy Pontoise a year after shooting in time for the film's premiere as they recall the location shooting and Rohmer's efforts to retain the area's character in the film, as well as the film's theatrical trailer (1:59).

The sole extra on Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle is an archival interview with actress Joëlle Miquel (5:05) which reveals that she had endured a long illness as a child and teenager during which she developed herself intellectually, publishing a semi-autobiographical novel and sending a script to Rohmer with whom she shared the notion of "the blue hour" and he would develop the script for the film.

There are no extras for The Three, the Mayor and the Mediatheque, although it does of course share a disc with Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle.

Sadly not included for review is the limited edition 124-page book containing new writing on the film by Jonathan Romney, Geoff Andrew, Philip Lopate, Geoffrey Macnab, David Jenkins, Tara Judah, Sophie Monks Kaufman, Justine Smith, Andy Miller, and Brad Stevens.


In the nine-disc, ten-film limited edition set The Éric Rohmer Collection, Arrow Academy remasters the major works of the third phase of Rohmer's career following his first period of shorts (1950-1966) and the Six Moral Tales (1963-1972) that brought him international attention with two literary adaptations – the traditional The Marquise of O and the experimental Perceval – the six Comedies and Proverbs which brought Rohmer more mainstream approval in his native France, and the previously hard-to-see – outside of the former's US and UK arthouse releases through New Yorker Films and Artificial Eye – The Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle and The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque.


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