Más sobre Eric Rohmer

Among the films Eric Rohmer directed in the ninth and last decade of his life were “The Lady and the Duke,” set in the embattled aristocracy of 18th-century France, and “The Romance of Astrea and Celadon,” based on a 17th-century French literary pastoral. These were not Mr. Rohmer’s only forays into the past — in the mid-’70s he made “Perceval” and “The Marquise of O ...” — but period dress was hardly this filmmaker’s habitual get-up.

Rather, the name (or the pseudonym) Eric Rohmer conjures a particular tableau of modern Europe, in which generally well-clothed (and occasionally unclothed), nicely spoken men and women converse in picturesque settings, reflecting calmly on the unruly desires to which they cannot help falling prey. His interest always gravitated toward the sexual mores and intellectual preoccupations of the present. And while some aspects of late-20th-century life — most notably, politics — were absent from his palette, he was also free of nostalgia or grandiosity. Meals, conversations, love affairs, excursions to the countryside and trips to the beach: his zest for observing such happenings was inexhaustible.

Still, those two late explorations of an older world don’t seem anomalous when set against earlier, better-known films like “Claire’s Knee” (1970) and “My Night at Maud’s” (1969). Instead, the characters and situations in “The Lady and the Duke” (2001) and “The Romance of Astrea and Celadon” (2007), borrowed from literature and history, appear quintessentially Rohmerian and unmistakably contemporary. Not because the nobles and shepherds who populate the films strike us as anachronistically modern, but rather because most of Mr. Rohmer’s other films can be described as classical.

His principal subject was passion, which he explored in various configurations. Mr. Rohmer, who died on Monday at 89, was interested in triangles, but also in more complicated geometrical patterns. In “Boyfriends and Girlfriends” (1987), “La Collectionneuse” (1967) and “Pauline at the Beach” (1983), desire ricochets between and within various pairings.

Even relatively simple scenarios — an accidental glance at a girl’s leg in “Claire’s Knee,” the more-or-less conventional adultery of “Chloe in the Afternoon” (1972) — yield reversals and paradoxes that defy easy summary. But even at their most feverish and fraught, these situations are diagramed with precision and detachment. Passion may be the subject, but the method is reason.

In an earlier era Mr. Rohmer might have been an exemplary man of letters. And he was, in the first phase of his career, a novelist, a critic and a scholar. But when he embraced cinema, which he saw as the pre-eminent art form of the time, he did so very much in the literary spirit of the 17th and 18th centuries, insisting it was fully compatible with both the medium and the age.

“Believe it or not,” he once wrote, “Diderot is a more modern scriptwriter than Faulkner is.” In the same essay Mr. Rohmer — or rather, Maurice Schérer, as he was then known — declared that “The classical age of cinema is not behind us, but ahead.” The strongest evidence for this contention would turn out to be his own oeuvre.

Mr. Rohmer made his prophecy in 1949, when the French embrace of American novelists and Hollywood filmmakers was at its most ardent. Along with other young polemicists at the journal Cahiers du Cinéma, he championed Nicholas Ray, Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks, helping to establish a canon of film history and to lay the groundwork for the art form’s next phase. In the late 1950s Mr. Rohmer’s colleagues went from theory to practice, turning Cahiers du Cinéma’s axioms and arguments into a movement identified (though not by them) as the New Wave.

It is worth pausing to marvel at just how many of them are still around, and still producing work that upholds a tradition of iconoclasm. Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette, Alain Resnais — all are figures in French cinema’s present as well as in its past.

Mr. Rohmer was the oldest of the group and something of a late bloomer as a filmmaker, hitting his stride with “The Moral Tales,” a cycle of six films (two shorts and four features) that began with “The Bakery Girl of Monceau” in 1962 and concluded with “Chloe in the Afternoon” 10 years later.

“The Moral Tales” and the cycles that followed — the six “Comedies and Proverbs” in the 1980s and the “Tales of the Four Seasons” in the 1990s — are the essential Rohmer. Other filmmakers manufacture sequels or burrow repeatedly into genres. His cycles are unusual in the way that they arrange self-contained narratives around themes, ideas and suggestive anecdotes. They don’t make arguments so much as offer slightly different views of similar problems. What happens when we fall in or out of love? How do accidental occurrences impinge on our plans and ambitions? What happens next?

These are not necessarily timeless questions, at least not in the way that fundamental problems of philosophy are. But they are always part of life, and framing them — in language and in pictures, the constituent elements of Mr. Rohmer’s movies (he rarely used music) — is what art does. Classicism is an approach that takes up these problems as they occur, without worrying too much about their contemporary relevance or their permanence. The cynical lovers in “La Collectionneuse” or their innocent counterparts in “Boyfriends and Girlfriends” are who and where they are, which is to say in French movies, but they would also be recognizable in 18th-century paintings or 17th-century plays, in England or Greece or Arcadia.

So Mr. Rohmer’s movies are unlikely to grow old. Future viewers seeking information about France in the 1960s will have to look elsewhere, to Mr. Godard, for example, who caught the spirit of the age. Social turmoil, sexual anxiety, changes in fashion and popular culture: these are all but invisible in Mr. Rohmer’s compositions, even as his words and images arise naturally from his milieu.

“Art is a reflection of our time,” he mused in 1949, when his own period of creativity still lay ahead of him. “But isn’t it also an antidote?”


Esta nota la escribí en enero de 2006 cuando se armó una retrospectiva completa de Rohmer, obviamente, en la Sala Lugones...

Rohmer, un cineasta generoso

Se verán más de veinte películas del octogenario realizador que fue parte de la Nouvelle Vague. Y se preestrenará su más reciente, "Triple Agente".

Diego Lerer.


Uno de los más notables cineastas de la historia, Eric Rohmer siempre estuvo un poco a la sombra de nombres más promocionados de la
nouvelle vague como Francois Truffaut o Jean-Luc Godard. Con sus 85 años, aún en actividad, Rohmer es una pieza clave de ese movimiento, acaso el más riguroso e influyente de sus integrantes.

Miembro de esa aristocracia de sobrevivientes del cine francés de los '60 (junto a Godard, Chabrol, Resnais y Rivette), este hombre nacido en Nancy como Maurice Scherer, es dueño de una obra distintiva por su combinación de clasicismo formal y modernidad narrativa, sus precisos conceptos teóricos y su fuerte impronta moral, por la generosidad para con sus personajes y por ser consecuente a un estilo que, con los años, se transformó en marca de fábrica. Hoy es común describir un filme como "rohmeriano", tal el caso del inminente Ana y los otros, de Celina Murga.

La Retrospectiva que se verá en el Malba durante todo enero confirma su categoría como creador único. Allí, además de proyectarse, por primera vez completas, sus tres series de filmes organizados temáticamente (Cuentos morales, Comedias y proverbios y Cuentos de las cuatro estaciones), se verán películas que prácticamente no tuvieron exhibición aquí como El signo de Leo; Perceval, el galo y Cuatro aventuras de Reinette y Mirabelle, y se hará una revisión sobre su "gusto", a partir de filmes relacionados con algunos de sus mejores textos como crítico —y también director, por unos años— de la revista Cahiers du Cinéma.

En el marco del ciclo se exhibirá en calidad de preestreno su último largometraje,
Triple agente (2003); se proyectará el fabuloso corto La panadera de Monceau (éste, con entrada libre y gratuita), y se verá el capítulo de la serie Cineastas de nuestro tiempo, dedicado a su obra.

Los Cuentos morales, explicaba el director, son una suerte de "variaciones sinfónicas. Como el músico, varío el motivo inicial, lo amplío o lo reduzco, le doy cuerpo o lo depuro. A partir de esta idea de mostrar a un hombre interesado por una mujer en el mismo momento en que va a relacionarse con otra, he podido construir mis situaciones, mis intrigas, mis desenlaces, incluso mis personajes". Esta soberbia serie de filmes arranca con Monceau y continúa con La carrera de Suzanne, Mi noche con Maud (uno de sus clásicos), La coleccionista, La rodilla de Clara y El amor después del mediodía, todos hechos entre los años '60 y principios de los '70.

La serie Comedias y proverbios, explica Rohmer, se compone de "personajes que quieren vivir algo, que algo llegue con gran fuerza. Al contrario que en otros mundos en los que el hombre es feliz y teme al peligro que pueda avecinarse, en el universo de las Comedias... los acontecimientos no son temidos". Esta serie de filmes incluye a La mujer del aviador, La buena boda, Pauline en la playa, Las noches de luna llena, El rayo verde y El amigo de mi amiga, todos de la década del '80.

En los posteriores
Cuentos de las cuatro estaciones, dice Rohmer, "quise concentrarme en jóvenes mujeres atractivas, inteligentes y preocupadas consigo mismas. Son personajes capaces de presentar sus dilemas con claridad y elegancia, y de expresar sus sentimientos en diálogos inspirados e ingeniosos". Esa serie, más reciente, incluye los Cuentos de primavera, verano, otoño e invierno, todos realizados en la década del '90.

En el apartado Las otras —compuestas por películas que no integran series— se verán El signo de Leo, su opera prima; La marquesa de O..., Perceval el galo, Cuatro aventures de Reinette y Mirabelle, El árbol, el alcalde y la mediateca, Los encuentros de París y La dama y el duque.

"Todas mis ideas sobre el cine las tuve siendo espectador, y la práctica del cine no me enseñó nada en ese aspecto", escribía Rohmer, y esa frase explica el apartado Rohmer y los otros, que integran obras que lo interesaron en su etapa de crítico. Aquí se verán Fausto, de F. W. Murnau; Las damas del bosque de Boulogne, de Robert Bresson; El misterio Picasso, de Henri-Georges Clouzot; Désiré, de Sacha Guitry; Psicosis, de Alfred Hitchcock; El maquinista de la General, de Buster Keaton; y Elena y los hombres, de Jean Renoir.

1 comentario:

Anónimo dijo...

El artículo del Sr. Scott me ha dejado muy sorprendida porque dice que la política esta ausente en la paleta de Rohmer. "El árbol, el alcalde y la mediateca" es ante todo y sobre todo sobre política.