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Claire’s Knee

(Le genou de Claire)
France 1970. Dir: Eric Rohmer. 106 min. DCP

The famous fetishized body part of Rohmer’s celebrated film belongs to a sunny 17-year-old completely absorbed in her young boyfriend. Its obsessive admirer is Jérôme, a mature, mid-thirties, about-to-be-married diplomat embroiled in the characteristic Rohmerian conflict between head and heart, and embarking on a final fling or two during a summer in Annecy. Jérôme’s half-hearted pursuit of teenaged sisters Laura and Claire has narrowed and fixated into a strange “undefined desire” to caress Claire's knee. Observing the proceedings is enigmatic writer and old flame Aurora, who encourages Jérôme's philandering ways in order to use them as fodder for her latest novel. This gloriously intelligent work, one of the director’s supreme achievements, has a “carefully constructed ambiguity, so typical of great literature and life ... [and] a level of civilized dialogue and intellectual subtlety practically unknown in the cinema” (Amos Vogel, Film as a Subversive Art).


"Comes very close to being a perfect movie ... It is so funny and so moving, so immaculately realized, that almost any ordinary attempt to describe it must in some way diminish it."

New York Times | full review

★★★★ "[An] extraordinary film ... Claire's Knee is a movie for people who still read good novels, care about good films, and think occasionally."

Roger Ebert | full review