Conte d’hiver – Eric Rohmer

Conte d’hiver - Eric Rohmer

I wanted to get involved with people at a deeply emotional level. But I didn’t want the kind of pre-programmed experience of engineered drama. So I had to go see someone who knew how to channel this deep involvement with the internal in a way that would be penetrating but not automatic, engaging but not all-encompassing.

Rohmer is my choice, and he is deep. Although he could appear to be casual and nonchalant. He defines a world that is as banal as the one you and I live in, but places at its center the most unbanal of urges. His stories are centered around the dialog and in that way they can be seen first as essays on the nature of being, and then only incidentally movies. But oh dear reader, you must truly listen to what is said. The talks are like small choreographies. They dance about the edges of an amorphous outline of an existential truth. They convey an insightful understanding of caprice. It all seems to graze fixed meaning but somehow offshoots to contemplation. There is a scene inside a car at the end of the second act that is probably the most intense emotional moment a film has given me.

I see that people brush this off as another of his talky dramas. You really must listen to understand. That’s why the action is so minimal. People move from place to place, then come back. They enter a room and then leave it. They take the bus, or go do groceries. Because he has to anchor a dull naturality. It is all about the words and their undefinable visions. But not like poetry with symbols, not music. Something more like the animation of an undefined spirit within. Something like scriptures.

The narrative introspection comes through a play, Shakespeare’s, which carries the same title as the film. It was actually a real performance, directed by someone other than Rohmer. In true introspective fashion the play is about the re-animation of a dead person. That’s because the movie is practically about the same thing.

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Categories: Notes

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