Eric Rohmer’s Comedies and Proverbs

JUNE 2-30

Perhaps no other filmmaker has mined the interior life with more success — and more wit, irony, and intelligence — than Eric Rohmer. His sublime cinema navigates the gaps that exist between our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions — the differences between what we think and what we feel, between what we say and what we do. It is an intimate, literate, and remarkably nuanced cinema, revealing an artist with the deftness and depth of a great novelist, an artist more than worthy of the impressive literary comparisons (Stendhal, Balzac, Pascal, Jane Austen, Henry James et al.) so often invoked to describe his work.

In 1981, following his exquisite Six Moral Tales and a pair of period dramas (including 1976’s The Marquise of O, to screen later this year), Rohmer embarked on a new six-film cycle entitled Comedies and Proverbs (Comédies et proverbes), with each installment framed by a well-known — or in one case, made-up — aphorism. Imbued with what Rohmer called “the spirit of social games,” the series, completed in 1987, continued the director’s fascination with romantic pursuits and beach vacations, bien sûr. But it distinguished itself from his previous cycle by adopting a more distanced, ironic point of view, subtly shifting the perspective away from its protagonists. It also, notably, centred mainly on female characters, a deliberate departure from the male-centric world of the Moral Tales. Anchored by commanding, career-best turns from Béatrice Romand, Marie Rivière, and Pascale Ogier (in her final screen role), Comedies and Proverbs demonstrated Rohmer’s almost preternatural ability to create dynamic, complex, and sympathetically-flawed film heroines, driven by desires that most often go unattained.

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Rohmer in Retrospect | This exhibition of Eric Rohmer’s Comedies and Proverbs is part of an ongoing Rohmer retrospective being presented at The Cinematheque in 2017. Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales screened in our March/April program.

 

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Current Showings

Rohmer’s radiant film, winner of the Golden Lion at Venice, epitomizes the wondrous talents of the late, great director.
Rohmer brings his acclaimed series to a close with this cool, clever comedy of manners concerning a group of amorously-obedient suburbanites.

Recent Showings

35mm PRINT | The summer becomes an education in the messy adult world of love, lust, and deception in Rohmer's biggest North American hit.
Rohmer renders this delightful, Paris-set tale of romantic intrigue and misunderstanding with his customary wit, irony, and warmth.
NEW RESTORATION | The fourth entry in Rohmer's cycle is a wry look at youth in (and out of) love set amid Paris’s chic, nocturnal social scene.
Béatrice Romand is a sophisticated young woman with matrimony on the mind in Rohmer’s charming second chapter in Comedies and Proverbs.