MARCH 31; APRIL 1-9
“A moralist,” the French writer-director Eric Rohmer (1920-2010) once explained, “is someone who is interested in the description of what goes on inside man. He's concerned with states of mind and feelings.” Perhaps no other filmmaker has mined the interior moral life with more success — and more wit, irony, and intelligence — than 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.
Rohmer's Six Moral Tales (Six contes moraux) is an extraordinary cycle of films made between 1962 and 1972, focusing on sexual temptation and the rationalization of desire. In each film of the series, typically, a man committed to one woman finds himself temporarily attracted to another, and so begins to questions his initial choice. “What I call a conte moral is not a tale with a moral, but a story that deals less with what people do than with what is going on in their minds while they are doing it. A cinema of thoughts rather than actions ... In the six stories, there are no tragic or violent events. No deaths, no mysteries to solve. Everything is in the mind. Only the heroes’ thoughts lend meaning to their acts" (Eric Rohmer).
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Rohmer in Retrospect | This presentation of Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales is the first program in an ongoing Rohmer retrospective at The Cinematheque in 2017.