The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Eric Rohmer Day *

* (restored)


‘French director Eric Rohmer told Barbet Schroeder in a 2006 interview, “In many films, people never discuss ideas, be they moral or political. And when those kinds of discussions are introduced, it often sounds false. What I’ve tried to do—and this is what I’m happiest with in my films—[is to] show people discussing morality, whatever that might mean, in a completely natural way.” Sometimes these discussions are abstract and philosophical (Jean-Louis Trintignant, his prospective mistress, and a friend debating Pascal over dinner in My Night at Maud’s) and sometimes they’re distinctly earthbound (the two dandies in La Collectionneuse taunting the indifferent object of their desire by calling her a slut). But it only takes a minute of hearing and seeing one of these conversations to know you’re in Rohmer-world, an enchanted and yet peculiarly unsentimental place in which both words and actions, minds and bodies, matter absolutely.

‘Philosopher Gerard Legrand wrote that “Rohmer is constantly inviting you to be intelligent …. In fact, more intelligent than his characters.” The first part of that statement is impeccably observed: A Rohmer movie doesn’t clobber you with its smarts; it generously furnishes you a space in which to think for yourself. But Legrand’s suggestion that, as part of this transaction, the viewer is invited to feel smarter than the characters seems to me imprecise and insufficiently appreciative of Rohmer’s artistry. As we watch Jerome (Jean-Claude Brialy), the self-deluded hero of Claire’s Knee, place his impending marriage in peril by blundering into all manner of erotic monkeyshines, we feel no smarter than he is. We don’t regard him with contempt or pity. We may feel wiser than Jerome, by moments, and certainly we laugh at his subterfuges, but we know all the while that our sense of superiority is itself a delusion—that the minute we leave the theater, we’re liable to lay eyes on an enticing knee that provokes us to behave just as foolishly. To find other artists besides Rohmer who can see this deeply into a character’s humanity and make us love him anyway—that is to say, who can ironize with this degree of gentleness—you have to reach up to a pretty high shelf: Shakespeare? Tolstoy?

‘Rohmer made films that were innovative but not iconoclastic—and never “revolutionary” in the Marxist sense of early Godard. They belong to a tradition of French philosophy and literature going back to Pascal, Marivaux, and Stendhal, in which free-thinking, solitude-loving heroes and heroines are caught in conflicts between the exigencies of law and reason and the demands of the heart. If Rohmer sometimes said, “Action” before he said, “Camera,” it wasn’t because he cared more about what the actors were doing than the fact they were being filmed. It was because he was trying to achieve a precise cinematic effect, that heightened not-quite-naturalism all his own; not a documentary-style “slice of life” but a privileged form of eavesdropping.

‘The beautiful people in Rohmer movies may be entranced with the sound of their own and one another’s voices, but they also speak with their bodies: Fabrice Luchini awkwardly navigating the dance floor in Full Moon in Paris, the principals of Pauline at the Beach using windsurfing lessons as a courtship ritual, and of course the protagonist in Claire’s Knee groping for that irresistible kneecap. The character’s movements and gestures are every bit as important as what they say, and as often as not, the gestures undo the words. “The reason I don’t like a close-up,” Rohmer explained, “is because it excludes. It doesn’t add, it takes away. It suppresses the relationship of the character to the set.” Rohmer didn’t draw any metaphorical conclusions about the significance of his preference for long shots over close-ups, but I’ll permit myself the liberty of hazarding one: If he preferred to keep his camera at a distance, it was because, physically as well as spiritually, he saw his characters as irreducibly whole.’ — Dana Stevens, Slate

‘Raymond Carver titled one of his most famous short stories “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. I am prepared to argue that no artist in any medium, not just cinema, explored the subject of romantic love as thoroughly as Rohmer — although it takes a certain amount of life experience to appreciate the depth of his accomplishment. I initially saw most of Rohmer’s films when I was in my early twenties and, save for the Moral Tales (his most well-known work), I hadn’t bothered to revisit his filmography until now — at the age of 38. After recently watching all of his movies in the span of less than a month, I now understand and appreciate his artistry in a way that I never had before. While I always considered myself an admirer of his “official masterpieces” (the later Moral Tales and certain key films in his other two prominent cycles: “Comedies and Proverbs” and “The Tales of the Four Seasons”), some of his films struck me as dull or even annoying, mainly because I found the characters annoying — without realizing that this was fully Rohmer’s intention. See, for example, the last segment of 1995’s Rendezvous in Paris, a hilarious satire of “mansplaining” (before the term even existed). But the most important revelation I’ve had about Rohmer is the realization that his special genius lay in his illustration of how the vast majority of human desires remain unfulfilled — the drama of his scenarios arises from the tension between what his characters want and their refusal/inability to attain it. Rohmer knew that eros has a way of making one talk, act and think differently, and this is what his camera documented with the precision of a microscope. And I’m not just referring to the kind of strong desires that make us want to sleep with person X or try to make person Y our significant other; he showed how eros can make one act just the tiniest degree nicer to a person to whom one is attracted, even when — or perhaps especially when — one feels that nothing may come of it.

From The Sign of Leo in 1959 to The Romance of Astrea and Celadon nearly a half of a century later, Rohmer showed a remarkable consistency in terms of his stylistic and thematic preoccupations. Sometimes he came in for criticism for it but Rohmer really did tend to make the same movie over and over again, sometimes with only minor — though crucial — variations in the characters and settings (something that can’t really be said about his compatriots in the nouvelle vague). The conventional wisdom, at least in certain mainstream cinephile circles, is that Rohmer was a kind of French Woody Allen: an intellectual who wrote and directed “talky” (i.e., dialogue-heavy and “uncinematic”) romantic comedies about upper class characters for upper class audiences. But far from being the cinematic equivalent of “watching paint dry,” to quote the famous putdown by Gene Hackman’s detective character in Arthur Penn’s Night Moves (1975), Rohmer’s films are both more exquisitely cinematic than his detractors give him credit for while also keeping more of a critical distance from their protagonists than many of his supporters are willing to admit. (Having said that, I can’t quite go along with the assertion of critic Gilbert Adair that Rohmer’s characters “are among the most foolish, ineffectual and pathetic milquetoasts ever to have graced a cinema screen, [and] that, on a generous estimate, 90% of the celebrated talk is sheer, unadulterated twaddle” — even if Adair meant that as a compliment!)

‘As far as Rohmer’s too-little-remarked-upon visual mastery is concerned, its virtues lie in the most discreet aspects of mise-en-scene. Yes, his films are about people talking, oftentimes in a self-deceptive fashion that is humorous for the way it rings of psychological truth, but there is often a poignant discrepancy between what his dialogue tells and what his camera shows. I would argue this is dialogue that would not add up to much on the page or even the stage. It does, however, come spectacularly alive on the cinema screen because of its very specific real-world context. In other words, the things that matter most in Rohmer’s movies are the material facts of where and when his characters do their talking — character and environment are inseparable. The main interest in watching Boyfriends and Girlfriends (1987), for instance, stems not from the romantic musical-chairs plot but rather from the way this plot unfolds against the backdrop of the horrific modern “architecture” of the pre-fabricated Parisian suburb known as Cergy Pontoise. And even more important than locations in Rohmer are the seasons, the time of day and the weather (“My films are slaves to weather,” he pronounced in one interview): has the particular color of summer sunlight ever registered so vividly as in Nestor Almendros’ photography of the French Riviera in La Collectionneuse (1967)? Is it possible to watch Jean-Luis Trintignant attend midnight mass at Christmastime in the black-and-white My Night at Maud’s (1969) and not feel the coldness in one’s bones? In Rohmer’s last masterpiece, 1998’s An Autumn Tale, what sticks with one the most about the beautiful character study is the sense of what it’s like to walk among the vineyards in the Rhone wine-region of France on a perfect fall day. But Rohmer knew a thing or two about interiors too. Check out Claire’s Knee, in which Aurora, a 30-something female novelist, wears matronly dresses with floral patterns that subtly link her to the wallpaper around her (and thus the concept of domesticity), in pointed contrast to the teenaged and bare-kneed Claire (who is repeatedly associated with the outdoors).’ — White City Cinema





Eric Rohmer 1920 – 2010 @ MUBI
Eric Rohmer @ Senses of Cinema
Eric Rohmer Fan Page (in French)
Video: Eric Rohmer on the dance floor
‘The Persistent Pleasures of Eric Rohmer’ @ NYRoB
‘My Love Affair with Eric Rohmer’ @ Hydra Magazine
‘Remembering Eric Rohmer, 1920 – 2010’ @ Salon
‘Cinema and the Classroom: Education in the Work of Eric Rohmer
‘ReFramed No. 9: Eric Rohmer’s Le Rayon Vert
Gilbert Adair ‘Eric Rohmer: Let’s talk about … everything’
‘Drift, The End, Stuck: Eric Rohmer’
‘Eric Rohmer’s Canvas’
Emanuel Levy ‘French Cinema’s Continuous Creativity’
Eric Rohmer’s ‘Six Moral Tales’ Boxset



Jean-Luc Godard’s Eric Rohmer tribute – 2010

1998 interview

Eric Rohmer in Jacques Rivette’s ‘Out 1’ (w/ subtitles)

Parlons Cinéma Eric Rohmer (1977)

Eric Rohmer – Les Metamorphoses du paysage (1964)

The Moral Cinema of Eric Rohmer


from Cahiers du cinema


CAHIERS: Let’s begin with a point that could appear secondary to you: since our last interview (1965), your two films: La collectionneuse and Ma nuit chez Maud, have known a certain level of success, both critically and with the public. Has this success led you to rethink the principal of the “moral tale”, or your relationship to the public and to the cinema?

ROHMER: I told myself that success would come some time or another. Has it changed anything with regards to my intentions? No. I always knew that I would make the later moral tales with more significant means than the earlier ones because the subjects demanded it. They demanded older characters, and it is easier to find 20 year-old amateur actors than 30- or 40 year-old ones. Now, if neither La collectionneuse nor Ma nuit chez Maud had met with success, this would likely have sounded the death knell for the “Moral Tales”.

CAHIERS: You say that this success changes nothing about the general plan of the “Moral Tales”. So was this success also programmed by you? For it is a new objective factor which would interfere with your plan in an objective manner.

ROHMER: No, I didn’t programme it, I hoped it would happen, in as much as, financially, it permitted me to continue the “Moral Tales”. I believed in a snowball effect: that with the success of the first, I could make the second, then the third and so on. I gambled on winning.

CAHIERS: Every success depends on a reading [lecture]; do you think that, in your case, this reading was adequate to what the films represented for you?

ROHMER: Listen, I don’t know. When you don’t have success, you can glorify the fact, when you do have success, you can glorify it as well. Or, inversely, you can complain about having too much success, or none at all. Yes, my success frightens me a little: after having been on the outer with relation to the cinema, after having made films almost in conditions of banditry, outside the laws of filmmaking and the customs of film technicians, now I have been admitted, I have been welcomed. This could be dangerous, in as much as success is always heady. Fortunately this isn’t the case at the moment, as I had already thought out my “Moral Tales” and my manner of shooting them hasn’t changed. The proof is that my next film will be no more expensive than the earlier ones, although it could have been. When you have a bit of success, you tend to think that success isn’t such a bad thing, and when you don’t have any success, you tend to think that success doesn’t prove anything. Both perspectives are true, I think. An author is more or less attuned with the present times; there are some who are always with the times, with all that this implies in terms of imperfection, as you can’t always be with the times. It’s not normal for a creator to be with the times when people receive his work; he must be a bit ahead of the times. So, you’re a little bit ahead of people, but they end up catching up to you. And they’re very quick. We’re no longer in the days of Stendhal, who speculated on being received in a hundred years time.

CAHIERS: But do you think that the response of critics and that of the public correspond to what these films represent?

ROHMER: I think I’ve been better understood, better received, by the public rather than the critics. I have the impression that the public was touched in a more original way, while the response of critics seemed more banal to me.

CAHIERS: On what basis do you think the public has been able to respond to the film better than the critics?

ROHMER: Nothing. Except for the fact that if people went to see the film, there must have been good word of mouth about it. I don’t think the critical response was enough to guarantee this, as this year it has been hyperbolic about films that flopped. All the more so, because there were elements in Ma nuit chez Maud which were, on the face of it, objectionable: the Catholic element, the long conversations, the fact that it was in black and white. The advertising campaign didn’t really contribute, either. I told the UGC [a French cinema distributor] to do it very discreetly. So the film’s success was purely due to word of mouth. Now, what were people’s reactions? I don’t know anything. I didn’t receive any letters, except one or two.

CAHIERS: We weren’t speaking of success as a fact, but of its nature. There is, all the same, a continuity between the reception of the public and that of the critics: the emphasis on the “intelligence of the characters”, “the profundity of the themes treated”…

ROHMER: Of course, but I read all that just like you did and I am able to interpret it even less than you can.

CAHIERS: For example, the film yielded a commentary which can be summarised thus: “as opposed to all these ‘modern’ movies, here is a film which, far from showing us gibbering morons – like Godard does for example – presents us with intelligent characters, debating extremely elevated problems, and what’s more: in the provinces, and in a text which is very coherent, cultivated, logically articulated”. Which comes back to attributing the film with the intelligence of the characters’ discourses, to take the discourse proffered in the film for the discourse of the film itself. Now, it seems to us that there is a confusion here: the interest in the film is situated in the articulations between the different discourses expressed in the film, more than these discourses themselves.

ROHMER: Your point of view – and this is normal – is more refined and more profound than that of most spectators. But every text, it seems to me, allows for two readings: an immediate reading and a reading between the lines, resulting from a deepened reflection, with reference to aesthetic theories. But I don’t think that this simplistic interpretation is worth less than the second. I always thought, even when I was a critic, that the brutal and simplistic reaction of the spectator is a good thing. I know that back then in Cahiers, we praised very commercial films in trying to defend them from a point of view that was not that of the man on the street. But this point of view doesn’t bother me. If people want to take things literally in the film, things that I myself may not take literally, I don’t say that this goes against its meaning, I say that it’s a more unsophisticated way of receiving the film, that’s all. I absolutely take on board every interpretation. That doesn’t mean I have to accept them, but once I finish a film, it escapes me, it closes itself off from me, and I can’t enter it any more. It’s up to the public to penetrate through whichever door they wish. I am not speaking about critics, who claim to have found the key, the right key, the only one which opens the big entrance gate. But that’s not my problem any more, thank God. I am not looking for the keys to Hitchcock any more, like I used to.

CAHIERS: Ma nuit chez Maud has certain things in common with Hitchcock: the spectator’s point of view is not put into question, but with this point of view, we can take into account how these films really function.

ROHMER: No, it’s a little different. This attitude which consists in looking for the meaning of the film beyond what is most evidently there (although Douchet has succeeded in coming to grips with what is most evident about Hitchcock: suspense), I think it was more valid for the American cinema, for films with a mass audience, but that it’s no longer justifiable nowadays. I would like there to be the shortest distance between the public’s interpretation (is it that naive? I doubt it) and that of the critics. I write films which should be, above all, tasted, felt, not so as to give rise to an intellectual reflection, but so that they touch people. A Chaplin film, even if you can make a highly developed reflection as to its subject matter, has to make people laugh, otherwise it’s a failure.

CAHIERS: With Chaplin or Hitchcock, what’s more immediate is their pleasurable aspect. Reflection can be secondary. But as for Ma nuit chez Maud, the reflections that the characters make produce and legitimise the spectator’s pleasure, delighted to see characters think in their stead.

ROHMER: Let’s say that at this point in the history of the cinema and the public, only a film which incites a certain reflection can be touching. There are subjects which could be touching in earlier times, such as melodramatic subjects, which don’t touch anyone anymore, so you need to delve into the characters more. But I have trouble seeing what the public could have misinterpreted.

CAHIERS: It seems that for Ma nuit chez Maud there wasn’t a gap between the point of view of the public and that of the critics to the same extent that there was for the films of Hitchcock, for example. Because, what is the entertainment value of a film like Ma nuit chez Maud, the equivalent of spectacle in a Hitchcock film, or of laughter in a Chaplin film? It’s reflection: it’s a film whose entertainment value is of a reflective type.

ROHMER: Certainly. But I think that there is also reflection in a detective novel, in the form of logical, even mathematical, considerations, explicit or not. And even in the comic film, there is a subjacent logical exposition.

CAHIERS: In Ma nuit chez Maud, the reflexive part, based on elements of intelligence, of discourse, was more important than is ordinarily the case, in as much as pleasure and pleasure of reflection are more directly linked than in a comic film, for example.

ROHMER: Certainly. But it’s a difference of degree and not a difference of nature: in all pleasure there is an element of reflection and we must hope that in all reflection there is an element of pleasure. I think that a work of art is made for the purpose of pleasure, and also for the purpose of reflection. I have always refused the distinction between art as entertainment and art as reflection. After all, we can reflect on Johnny Halliday and find an immediate pleasure in Beethoven. For me, this distinction is a flawed way of thinking…

What retains your interest in this film is the fact that my characters have a discourse to give, while in the majority of films, this is absent. Note that in general, I have always had misgivings about discursive films. But you are often attracted by things which seem the most unattractive and the most perilous to you. My idea was precisely to integrate a discourse into the film and to avoid the film being at the service of the discourse, at the service of the thesis. But throughout history, starting with the Greeks, discourse has been very important in the theatre. The Greek theatre was composed of maxims, of moral reflection, which didn’t prevent it from being real theatre.

CAHIERS: In Ma nuit chez Maud, what permitted people to take pleasure from the film was, more than a real or new reflection, “the idea of reflection”, reflection in quotation marks. That is to say, the role that maxims played in the Greek theatre in terms of cultural discourse, already well-known, labelled as being propitious to reflection. In Ma nuit chez Maud, a subject matter squarely designated as being intellectual serves to procure pleasure. Whence the risk of miscomprehension we spoke about at the beginning, miscomprehension coming from the fact that the spectator had a tendency to consider you, as the author of the film, as being on the same level as the discourses proffered in the film, when, it seems to us, the film is somewhere else, between these discourses, it plays with these discourses, plays on these discourses.

ROHMER: What you’re doing now is criticism, and I find it very interesting, by the way. I even subscribe to it in a certain fashion: of all the things that one could say about the film, it’s one of the most perspicacious. But then what’s the point of me being here. My position with relation to the film has no importance. Probably because you know that I was a critic, you’re trying to make me be a critic for my own film, something I absolutely refuse and of which I am, in any case, incapable.

CAHIERS: Let’s say that there is an ambiguity which is attached to the notion of the “moral tale”, the title functioning like a signal: “attention, serious thought!”.

ROHMER: If there is an ambiguity, it is in the moral tale. There are subjects, “sentimental” subjects, which can only be interpreted in a certain manner, while in my subject, there is a fundamental ambiguity in as much as one doesn’t know who is right and who is wrong, if it’s happy or if it’s sad. This comes from the fact that the cinema has evolved and that it is less unsophisticated, less naive than before.

CAHIERS: We’re not trying to say that the public has committed a misinterpretation. But this reading we spoke about can constitute a limitation of the meaning and above all, prevent seeing how this meaning is produced, and that other meanings are masked.

ROHMER: There is necessarily a limitation of the meaning. It is impossible to fully take account of any kind of work, even the most facile ones: there are always different meanings according to the different temperaments of those who receive the work. This seems normal to me and is not particular to my film.

CAHIERS: For a very long time, the idea was nurtured that the work offered itself to as many readings as there are spectators. For too long the myth was accredited according to which each spectator received a film in a unique and singular manner. In fact, when we speak of a film, with its spectators, we see very well that for each film there is a very limited number of possible readings, with gaps between them, and that these readings are all determined, and not only by the film.

ROHMER: There are a limited number of readings – at any given time. But let’s take films which endure, look at the different ways in which we could speak about Griffith or Renoir, you’ll notice that it’s very varied… As for the “Moral Tales”, I told you that they were films which could be composed by a computer….

CAHIERS: But the computer itself is programmed…

ROHMER: But the programme is extremely simple. Starting with two single words: “moral”, “tale”, you can draw out a lot of things. But I still don’t see what I could say to you that would be interesting, apart from banalities, or to recount the film in a different way. Ask me some more precise questions.

CAHIERS: Isn’t it the case that what underlies all your “Moral Tales” could be boiled down to four words which we give here in no particular order: space, time, chance, predestination (with all the Christian connotations that this entails: grace, etc.)?

ROHMER: They are indeed words which are in the computer program. They are there of necessity, because in every fiction, in every work of cinema, there is on the one hand the idea of destiny (as a way of seeing an event) and predestination (the magical side of this destiny), and on the other hand there is space and time. So they’re in my program… as a minimum program for every fiction.

CAHIERS: You said just then that you had wagered on having success in the 1970s. So did you think that your two last films coincided more particularly with this moment…

ROHMER: You want to make a prophet out of me, which I’m not in the slightest. It was just a hope. When I undertook my “Tales” – Comolli remembers this very well – I declared, “Long live 16mm!”, out of provocation and necessity more than out of deep conviction. It was evident that 16mm presented great inconveniences on a technical level. This was back in 1962: things have slightly improved since then. All the same, I had intended to shot La collectionneuse in 16mm for a while, but Nestor [Almendros, camera operator for the film] advised me against it and convinced me that Eastmancolor was far superior to 16mm and not that much more expensive. So I shot it in 35mm. The same with Ma nuit chez Maud: I tried to see if we could do it with amateurs but I renounced the idea of finding people capable of filling the roles. With the next film, I’m going to shoot it “professionally”. But with the sixth “Moral Tale”, it is very possible that, all of a sudden, I could find it more interesting to do it in 16mm with amateurs. I don’t feel constrained by success, and, after the “Moral Tales” I have no idea what I’m going to do. I don’t even consider myself to be a filmmaker by trade.

Ma nuit chez Maud is a subject that I carried around inside me since 1945. Since then, it has undergone enormous modifications. A character locked up with a woman by an exterior circumstance was the primary dramatic idea. But back then it was about the curfew, during the war, and not snow.

CAHIERS: Did the fact that he got caught by the snow rather than a curfew during the war lead to other modifications?

ROHMER: For me, the snow represented the passage from “tale” to mise en scène. Snow is very cinematographically important for me. In the cinema, it makes the situation stronger, more universal than the external, historical circumstance of the occupation.

CAHIERS: Do you think that in relation to the general structure of the “Moral Tale”, snow has a fictional role equivalent to that of the occupation?

ROHMER: Given the subject, yes. Because the subject, such as I had thought of it, had no deep relationship with the occupation; that is, the conflict between the French and the Germans. You remember the Eluard poem: “It was late / Night had fallen / We fell in love with each other” and so on. Maybe this was what gave me the idea?

CAHIERS: Isn’t the real problem in the very notion of the “moral tale”, between a certain eternal aspect of an abstract schema and its obligatory and precise articulation with and insertion into History?

ROHMER: It’s not in “History”, it’s just in the current world, in the world to be filmed, and so there’s no issue. Up till now, and this is linked to the realism of my project, I always liked to film in the present day. If I film in Saint-Tropez, it’s not the same thing as filming in the fogs of the Baltic. If I shoot in 1970, the period will affirm itself in a certain manner, without the need for me to seek it out, by the way: I can take it because it’s there. At the same time, I avoid showing things which go out of fashion too much. Indeed, in La collectionneuse, there is a rather pronounced “fashionable” aspect, but I made it in such a way as to not be a slave to it, but to dominate it. This goes with my general, almost documentary conception of the cinema, in as much as I take real characters, who exist outside of the film, I accept them entirely, I don’t want to rob them of their particularities, even if these disappear with the passage of time. In Ma nuit chez Maud, the discourse is less specific to our time: let’s say that it is very “mid-century”. The insertion of my tales into the temporality of the character has never posed any problems for me: it happens by itself.

CAHIERS: On the one hand you film the present, on the other hand the general schema of the “Moral Tales” is ahistorical: yet, in Ma nuit chez Maud, there is, moreover, a precise discourse concerning history and the various bets one can place on the course of history: a very coherent Catholic discourse and a Marxist discourse that is less coherent, which is to say, very coherent from a Catholic point of view.

ROHMER: Obviously! The cinema shows real things. If I show a house, it’s a real, coherent house, not something made out of cardboard. When I show traffic on the road, it’s real traffic in a certain city, at a certain moment. It’s the same for the discourses in the film, I’m not looking for schematisation. I’m showing a Marxist, a Catholic, not the Marxist, the Catholic.

CAHIERS: In a sequence in Ma nuit chez Maud, the meeting between Vitez and Trintignant in the café, Vitez speaks to Trintignant about the prospects for the advent of socialism. This discourse is symmetrical to Trintignant’s discourse on chance and probabilities. Yet, as a communist, Vitez is supposed to base his ideas on a science, historical materialism, which envisages the advent of socialism without any wager, without fideism.

ROHMER: Attention. Marxism does not place a wager, but you can wager on Marxism. In as much as historical materialism is not a science…

CAHIERS: Historical materialism is a science.

ROHMER: No. It’s a philosophy. You can’t tell me that Marxism is a science. That the sum of the angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, nobody will deny. Whereas with dialectical materialism…

CAHIERS: We said “historical materialism”.

ROHMER: All right, historical materialism, one can deny its very fundamentals. For example, I personally don’t attribute any value to it. Except as a philosophical system, among others. But it is not a science.

CAHIERS: The problem is not at all in our divergence with relation to historical materialism. It is in the discourse held by Vitez as a communist activist in the film. If, indeed, his adherence is a wager on a science, it would have been necessary for the film to present him as a “hesitant Marxist”. Yet, it’s Marxism itself which is presented as being hesitant.

ROHMER: I don’t know about that. I can’t make a judgement about it as a Marxist, not being one. But, in the same way that my Catholic says things which can shock certain Catholics, my Marxist does not have to be a model Marxist. It’s a character who calls himself a Marxist, much as Trintignant calls himself a Catholic. Is he Marxist from the point of view of Marxist orthodoxy? Is Trintignant Catholic from the point of view of Catholic orthodoxy? I don’t know, but this is what shapes my project, for that’s what interests me: showing men who are not absolutely certain of the validity of their adherence to a doctrine, and who interrogate themselves about it and place a wager on it.


19 of Eric Rohmer’s 22 films

The Romance of Astrea and Celadon (2007)
‘Rohmer’s films foreground conversation, but, more importantly, they explore the ways in which discussion can serve as a substitute for the gratification of furious desires. This therefore allows his subjects to externalize, contain and neutralize their desires, out of fear of what havoc their desires may unleash. Rohmer demonstrates, perhaps greater than any other filmmaker, the sensual power of words, and how sexual drives can be expressed through verbal gamesmanship. This quality of discursivity as the foundation of romantic couplings is shared by the pastoral genre, which tended to structure its comedies as strings of dialogues largely meditating on the ideas of romance and social graces. Astrea and Celadon are lovers who must hide their passion from their parents, who are at odds with one another. It has been agreed that Celadon must flirt with other women to maintain their cover, yet, when Astrea sees him advancing upon a local girl at a dance, she becomes so consumed with envy and paranoia that she expels him from her life. A distraught Celadon—a chaste, over-sensitive, faintly ridiculous romantic in line with so many of Rohmer’s male protagonists—impulsively throws himself in the river, leaving behind a lengthy suicide note scrawled in tree bark. He survives the attempted drowning however, and washes up on a part of the bank positioned next to a grand castle operated by three young women, self-proclaimed “nymphs,” who nurse them back to health. The nymph Galathée quickly becomes enamoured with Celadon, yet her attempts to seduce him are repeatedly frustrated, as he vows to remain faithful to Astrea while simultaneously honoring her desire to never see him again; his comical literalism aligns him with the protagonists of Rohmer’s earlier Moral Tales. The two characters lead lives shadowed by the absence of their lover. To avoid temptation, Celadon sets up a fort made of sticks and leaves in a secluded part of the forest, where he vows the stay. Meanwhile, Astrea, believing Celadon dead, isolates herself from the community in insular despair.’ — MUBI




Triple agent (2004)
Triple Agent is a sad film, but not a dark one. It is like an elegy, or a lamentation: mournful but romantic. We see a faith challenged and destroyed, but we do not feel that faith itself is futile. I certainly look at this portrait of a marriage and find in it many virtues, many truths—its specific problems generalize easily to the moral condition of many relationships. What makes the film feel so tough and unconsoling is that it prods at the insufficiencies of goodness in a world which is impossible to master or comprehend. Rohmer’s insertion of archival footage shocks us, because it reveals that even the immensely nuanced perspective that he crafts does not cohere entirely with reality. Pieces are missing; our theory of history is ever incomplete; and in the end the chaotic march of history defines our lives, no matter what powers we obtain in our attempts to defend against it.’ — MUBI




The Lady and the Duke (2001)
‘Lavishly produced at a cost of some $6 million US, the film recouped only $1.9 million US in its initial theatrical release, though The Lady and the Duke gained some additional revenue from a DVD release, something that wouldn’t be possible today in the era of streaming-only VOD. In many ways, the film belongs to another era, despite the use of digital imaging and CGI effects. This thoughtful, transcendent film belongs the past as much as the present, and serves both as a meditation on the past, and a warning for the future – something Rohmer tried to do with all his films; to instruct, and enlighten his audience.’ — Senses of Cinema




Conte d’automne
(Autumn Tale, 1998)
‘The last of Rohmer’s “Tales of the Four Seasons” (1990-98), the quartet which would be his final series, Autumn Tale is a magisterial late work – gentle, autumnal and mellow – that remains among the director’s very finest. In contrast to the dominant emphasis on youth in so much of his previous work, Rohmer now focuses instead on two middle-aged friends, played by his two favorite actresses, Marie Rivière and Béatrice Romaine, as the heroines of an intriguing plot spun from the matchmaking efforts of one for the other, and perhaps for herself as well. This well-intentioned intervention engenders a string of complications that culminate in a masterfully choreographed wedding sequence that alternates between comedy, melodrama and farce.’ — Harvard Film Archive





Conte d’été
(A Summer’s Tale, 1996)
‘Foucault, writing on a certain type of overcome self where “this pleasure…is a state that is neither accompanied nor followed by any form of disturbance in the body or mind. It is defined by the fact of not being caused by anything that is independent of ourselves and therefore escapes our control”, might at first seem to be offering an example of control freakery. But it’s merely asking of each individual that they see themselves autonomously, first and foremost; that anything which enters into that autonomy can become the hint at mutually evolving selves present in A Summer’s Tale, as Gaspard and Margot converse and become more themselves and at the same time more at one with each other and the world. Rohmer’s films can seem like lightweight accounts of indecisive behaviour, but they contain within them possibilities far beyond the work of many filmmakers whose concerns may be more pessimistically explored, but no more deeply felt.’ — Tony McKibbin, Experimental Conversations


the entirety (w/ subtitles)

Éric Rohmer sur le tournage de Conte d’été


Conte d’hiver
(A Tale of Winter, 1992)
‘A Rohmer film is a flavor that, once tasted, cannot be mistaken. Like the Japanese master Ozu, with whom he is sometimes compared, he is said to make the same film every time. Yet, also like Ozu, his films seem individual and fresh and never seem to repeat themselves; both directors focus on people rather than plots, and know that every person is a startling original while most plots are more or less the same. His earlier films were about men and women; A Tale of Winter is about women and men, or women and women. He is concerned with the search for love and pattern in life. He loves the way women look and move and talk, and the way they evaluate men. He admires physical beauty, but never makes it the point; he chooses actresses who are smart and bright-eyed, and focuses on their personalities rather than their exteriors. What pervades Rohmer’s work is a faith in love–or, if not love, then in the right people finding each other for the right reasons. There is sadness in his work but not gloom. His characters are too smart to be surprised by disappointments, and too interested in life to indulge in depression. His films succeed not because large truths are discovered, but because small truths will do.’ — Roger Ebert




L’ami de mon amie
(Boyfriends and Girlfriends, 1987)
Boyfriends and Girlfriends is among Rohmer’s lightest, most playful (and most overtly schematic) confections, breezing through the major preoccupations of his Comedies and Proverbs film series like icing on a particularly rich cake. As such, it feels very much like the summation of the preceding five works, an airily diagrammatic working through, and at least partial commentary upon, their prevailing characteristics. This is particularly clear in relation to the narrative structure and format of the film, which unusually for the Comedies and Proverbs series is constructed much more around a clean and classical aesthetic, one that is more compact and self-contained. Rohmer’s mise en scéne is predicated on clear-cut oppositions, harmonies and discordances. Costumes and colours are coded throughout, especially blues and greens, so that the joyous final scene not only matches two sets of characters in harmonious contrast (each couple clothed in compliments of blue and green), but is set it in a luxurious outdoor cafe in a location dominated by the natural correlative of clear water and thick foliage in deep sunshine. The whole is a rhapsody in blue and green that has the effect of speaking for the characters; characters who have struggled to enunciate and communicate, even to comprehend, their feelings throughout.’ — Senses of Cinema




4 aventures de Reinette et Mirabelle
‘As if making a joke about the famous talkiness of his films, Eric Rohmer’s latest work begins and ends with silence – or at least the idea of silence. In the first of the connected episodes in Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle, the voluble Reinette treasures silence so much she wakes her friend Mirabelle before dawn to hear ”the blue hour,” which is not an hour but a second, not a sound but a brief silence between darkness and light, when the night birds stop singing and the day birds have not yet begun. Mr. Rohmer and his characters are always searching for such perfect moments, which are not epiphanies but luxurious experiences in their own right: touching a young woman’s knee in Claire’s Knee of 1970, or waiting to see the green ray, the moment when the setting sun flashes green on the horizon, in Summer (1986). His films themselves are just such experiences – apparently evanescent, yet remarkably weighty and memorable.’ — Caryn James, NYT


the entirety


The Green Ray (1986)
‘This 1986 film from the late new wave veteran Eric Rohmer is the penultimate chapter of his six-part series Comedies and Proverbs, and arguably the best. Written in collaboration with its lead Marie Rivière, it’s a remarkably slender, even flimsy-seeming story about a young woman, Delphine, who finds herself unsure how to spend her summer holiday and ends up drifting from friend to friend, resort to resort, increasingly disconsolate and at a loose end. Still, she clings to her faith in destiny, which eventually seems to reveal its design in the form of an obscure Jules Verne novel chatted about by a group of senior citizens on the Biarritz beachfront. Shot on 16mm with a skeleton crew, the film features a number of Rohmer regulars, including Béatrice Romand and Rosette as Delphine’s pugnacious and coquettish friends, respectively, together with assorted non-professionals. They bring the tang of uncooked reality to a story that at times resembles a documentary on the French cult of the summer holiday.’ — The Guardian





Les nuits de la pleine lune
(Full Moon in Paris, 1984)
‘”He who has two women loses his soul; he who has two houses loses his mind.” Beautiful interior decorator Pascale Ogier has a live-in boyfriend at her home in the country but enjoys a carefree single life when she stays at her apartment in Paris. Can she continue to have it both ways? And is that even what she really wants? Best Film of 1985, French Syndicate of Cinema Critics; Silver Lion for Best Actress (Ogier), 1984 Venice Film Festival. Eric Rohmer (1920-2010) changed the course of contemporary filmmaking with his eloquent, elegant and probing films focused on small moral dilemmas in the everyday lives of middle-class people. The most literary of the Nouvelle Vague filmmakers, Rohmer’s trademark comedies of manners are, in fact, as much about his characters’ linguistic habits as they are about their lives, loves and entanglements.’ — AFI





Pauline à la plage
(Pauline at the Beach, 1983)
‘One of Rohmer’s most accessible films, Pauline at the Beach focuses on a merry-go-round of love and sex between four people who meet on vacation, all under the watchful eye of a pair of adolescents, who ultimately seem the wisest characters of all. Guided by the proverb roughly translated as “He who talks too much undoes himself,” Rohmer derives rich comedy and drama from the gaps between the moral positions declared by each of the adults and promptly contradicted by their subsequent actions. The film marks the final collaboration between Rohmer and cinematographer Nestor Almendros, who ignites the summertime beach setting with luminous imagery inspired by Matisse.’ — HFA





Le Beau Mariage
(A Good Marriage, 1982)
‘The La Fontaine proverb that begins this film asks, “Who has not built castles in Spain?” and the film follows with a cautionary tale about the dangers of hatching elaborate and improbable schemes. Rohmer favorite Béatrice Romand plays a young woman bent not on playing the field but rather waiting to meet the ideal man for marriage. In typical Rohmerian fashion, her resolute goal-orientation makes her alternately admirable and insufferable as she wills herself into awkward courtship and miscommunication. Ultimately, Rohmer’s heroine finds herself in a whirlwind of changing mores, the wake that followed the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s and the crossroads that recurs as the setting for the entire cycle of “Comedies and Proverbs.”’ — HFA


the entirety


Perceval le Gallois
‘Eric Rohmer takes a great leap out of the comfortable middle class environs that have constituted almost all of his films and lands in the 12th century — but it’s not that drastic a stretch once one discovers that Rohmer’s idee fixe of “fidelity” is as present as ever. Not just fidelity as to one’s values, but Rohmer’s fidelity to recreating past moments and objects in a cinematic idiom. In his other films, he has strived to achieve a faithfully realistic recreation of everyday interactions between people — here he strives to cinematically construct the Arthurian tale of Perceval de Gallois as true-to-the-letter as possible, to the point of matching the source text word for word (so that the characters narrate their own actions. The film is set on a soundstage where knights pass by artificial trees and enter gilded castles barely large enough to fit one person. This is essential Rohmer and a must-see by all means.’ — Also Like Life




Eric Rohmer: Rehearsal of Perceval le Gallois and interview


Die Marquise von O…
(The Marquise of O, 1976)
‘Rohmer followed the great successes of his “Six Moral Tales” with a marked departure from his playful studies of shifting ethical codes in contemporary France by adapting an 1808 novella by Heinrich von Kleist. Like the novella, the film begins with the publication of a remarkable newspaper advertisement, signed by the Marquise of the title, in which she reveals that she is pregnant and desirous of the man responsible to reveal himself. While chance encounters spontaneously drive the protagonists of the “Moral Tales” to examine their own consciences, here fate forces the Marquise to confront both her own comportment and the prejudices of her day. Taking full advantage of the film’s West Germany locations and entirely German cast, Rohmer and Nestor Almendros enriched the period film with rich quotes from German Romantic painting.’ — HFA



the entirety


L’amour l’après-midi
(Love in the Afternoon, 1972)
Love in the Afternoon is the last of the Six Moral Tales. Frederic (Bernard Varley), is a happily married, well-to-do lawyer married to Helene (Francoise Verley), a somewhat chilly English professor. He is attracted to other women and misses the time when he was free. “I feel marriage closes me in,” he says, “cloisters me, and I want to escape. The prospect of happiness opening indefinitely before me sobers me. I find myself missing that time, not too long ago, when I could experience the pangs of anticipation.” Though there is a lot of talking in Chloe in the Afternoon, it never seems false or tiresome. This is a very charming film that Pauline Kael called “in every respects, a perfect film.” It has a natural rhythm with characters that are so real that you don’t want to leave them when the film ends.’ — Cinescene



the entirety


Le genou de Claire
(Claire’s Knee, 1970)
‘Of all the male protagonists in the “Six Moral Tales”—each a man in a steady relationship who finds himself tempted by an unexpected other woman—the lead in Claire’s Knee is arguably the least sympathetic, being a generation older than the unsuspecting, adolescent Claire who is his unwitting temptress. Nouvelle vague stalwart Jean-Claude Brialy plays Jerome, a self-satisfied libertine approaching middle age whose once firm decision to marry his longtime girlfriend is shaken by his encounter with the young Claire. Jerome’s habit of recounting his exploits in a self-serving manner makes explicit Rohmer’s belief that the “Moral Tales” protagonists think of themselves as heroes in a novel, narrating their lives to themselves and others as much as living them. The hints of murky depths in Jerome’s character contrast with the glowing imagery of Annecy in the summer, filmed by Nestor Almendros using a palette inspired by another libertine, Paul Gauguin.’ — HFA



the entirety


Ma nuit chez Maud
(My Night at Maud’s, 1969)
‘The third of Rohmer’s “Moral Tales” and his first international hit, My Night at Maud’s centers around a serious young Catholic engineer who, over the course of several days around Christmas, explores the intersection of chance and choice in his life. Adjusting to a lonely life in provincial Clermont-Ferrand after years living abroad, he finds himself torn between the woman chance has thrown him together with and one he has never met but instinctively believes to be his ideal. The film’s centerpiece is the titular night, which the snowbound Jean-Louis Trintignant spends with a charming, agnostic divorcee, sharing ideas about philosophy and life and, eventually, her bed. Pascal’s Pensées figures heavily in their circular and sparkling debates about religion, marriage and free will.’ — HFA

Trailer (w/ subtitles)




La Collectionneuse
(The Collector, 1967)
‘In The Collector, Rohmer’s first feature-length film, mind-games, strategies, and overt manipulation thwart the possibility of satisfying relationships. The 54-minute film is beautifully photographed and has an elegance, charm, and wit that bears favorable comparison with his more acclaimed works. Adrien (Patrick Bauchau), an art dealer, and Daniel (Daniel Pommereulle), a painter spend the summer in a house on the French Riviera. Also vacationing there is Haydee (Haydee Politoff), an elegant but rather aloof young woman who sleeps with many boys in the area and has earned the title of “collectionneuse,” a collector of men. The Collector is perhaps the most philosophical of the six films in Rohmer’s ‘Moral Tales’ cycle, but in the end the pursuit without passion leads to a feeling of emptiness and missed opportunities. Like most of Rohmer’s films, there are no peak dramatic moments or confrontations, just everyday life elevated into art.’ — Cinescene






p.s. Hey. Things proceed well here, but unfortunately still not in a particularly colorful to describe way. We have most of the main roles cast now. Unsurprisingly, the two roles that are proving difficult are the ones involving children — the daughter of the family (a main role) and a young boy who’s seen going through the haunted house (in a relatively small but complicated scene). So, our concentration for the next few days is finding those kids. We have a shooting schedule, roughly March 20 – April 20, and now we have to make it align with people’s availability, especially in the case of the performers who are under 18 where we have to work with their school vacations. We still have some crew to find (sound people, gaffers, grips, etc.). And we’re still looking for the locations that aren’t the main house (a few bedrooms, a kitchen, an apartment, a gas station (which we might have found), and the facade of a school). There’s a lot to do, and we’re try to get as much accomplished as we can before I fly back to Paris for a couple of weeks on Thursday and Zac is left here to work on his own for a bit. We’re having a meet and greet with the main cast this week, and hopefully I can share pix from that. Other than film work, I really haven’t done much of anything. Oh well. ** CAUTIVOS, Hi. ‘Lifesize’, no, I haven’t seen it. I wrote a kind of scathing profile of Ryu Murakami a long time ago, and I got in a bit of trouble for it. It’s in my book ‘Smothered in Hugs’. I think his early books are okay. I haven’t read anything of his in years. ** Cody Goodnight, Hi, Cody. That Nazi thing was news to me too. Nice that you have interesting job prospects. That’s not often the case, obviously. That is awesome about your camera exercise, and I can imagine the addiction thing. I’ve never operated an actual filming camera. On our sets, I just watch with fascination basically. So, the television class is really interesting? Is working in TV something you want to do? I too hate ‘Requiem for a Dream’ too and pretty much all of Aronofsky’s other films really. Nice viewings you had there. I haven’t see anything this week, or, well, I half-watched some episodes of ‘The Last of Us’ and ‘Wednesday’ that my roommate was watching. Both seemed okay, I guess. Nothing mind-boggling. Anyway, have a great week. How was it? ** Bill, Hi. I look forward to the exciting part. We’re still a bit far from that, although it’s kind of exciting to find great cast members. Jimmy De Sana is cool. I think I did a post about him. I’ll have to go check.I think I’m going to see ‘Infinity Pool’ this weekend if I get some hours off. Thanks for the tip about ‘Glow’. I’ll get to it. I hope your week is glitch-free. ** Ellie, Him, Ellie! My cold is long gone, thankfully. I’m good, a bit exhausted, but that’s okay. Yeah, the sex doll is interesting. I’m obviously very interested in escorts and slaves, and they’re in the same family, just more ultimate (or the opposite of ultimate?). Cool about Saori. I’m surprised I didn’t find her in my searching. Anyway, very awesome offshoot thoughts, thank you. Compared to Paris, it’s definitely warm here, although locals complain about the chill. Oh, the DP is on board. We had a long meeting with him yesterday. He’s super great. I’ll hope to have some actually interesting film tidbits by next week. Have a swell 7 days! xo, me. ** David Ehrenstein, Ha ha ha, maybe it is! ** _Black_Acrylic, That is seriously vegan unfriendly. That said, your dad’s attitude makes a lot of sense. How are you, pal? ** Russ Healy, Hi, Russ. Yeah, I was and am really sad about Tom Verlaine. He was so brilliant. I think his post-Television solo is great too and really underrated, in particular ‘Dreamtime’, but there are fantastic things on all of his albums. Things are good and very busy here, yeah. How are you? What’s going on? ** Dominik, Hi, D!!!!!! I’m hanging in there, sometimes only by my fingertips, ha ha, but it’s happening. New SCAB! Wow, that’s exciting news! My head cold is a dead duck, thankfully. I feel pretty sure love can fill your order. I might ask him for two of them, if you don’t mind. Love making this six year old girl we really want to play the daughter in our film say yes, or, well, actually, making her parents say yes, G. ** h now j, Hi. I’ll keep you posted and try to keep the really boring parts (most of them) to myself. Forest animals! Out where we’re going to shoot the film, it’s mostly snakes which we do not want to hang out with. Wow, are you looking forward to being in another country or the opposite? Thanks, my friend. Focused and zoned is a perfect description of my current state too. ** A. C., Hi, welcome! You can write to me at Thanks so much! ** Steve, Hi, Steve. I hope things at your parents’ place have settled in. How long are you there for? I’m going to try to see ‘Infinity Pool’ this weekend if I can manage my time right. Work’s been good. We hope to have the main cast in place by the time I leave. We’re looking for cheaper than AirBnB housing or freebies because of heavy budget restrictions, but we’ll likely end up housing at least some people that way. Our film isn’t intended as horror, no, but I think it might get contextualized there because of the home haunt aspect, at least to people who haven’t seen it yet. Everyone, Steve interviewed Brandon Cronenberg about ‘Infinity Pool’ here. ** Kyle, Hi, Kyle! I did indeed get your email. Things have been so intense and draining that I haven’t gotten to watch the film yet, but I’m looking for the first opportunity that my brain can intake it without distortion. Thanks a lot! I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Take good care. ** Billy, Thanks, Billy. I’m trying, I’m trying really hard. And you? ** alex, I did! I loved it, as I said, as has everyone, which I may or may not have said. Yeah, by, like, mid-March we should be in the exciting part, or most exciting. Can’t fucking wait. Yeah, same about movies on acid. The real is a better thing to observe when fried. It’s been so long since I took acid, hm … the only thing I remember being wowed by was stupid cartoons, I think because I could get into thinking about it being drawn at the same time it was playing maybe? I’m curious about ‘IP’. I honestly didn’t think that much of his previous two films, but we’ll see. Your take is really interested. I won’t be surprised if I agree. Did you get writing done, I’m heavily hoping? ** T, T! Howdy!!!! I’ll be back in the big P on Friday for a couple of weeks. We should meet up! Honestly, I’m going to be so extremely jet lagged that day that I think it’s impossible to think about going to see Moor Mother because I will likely be so dead asleep by then. But drat! Ha ha, in a weird way, I did have a week almost like that. Have a week that is the exact opposite of my upcoming week. You’ll thank me, trust me. xoxox, Dennis. ** NLK, Hi, hi! Wow, I’m honestly almost kind of drooling myself about that drooly warplane talk. I weirdly love stuff like that. Weird passion is so dreamy. Ha ha, your co-worker. I’m going to go trip on that now. You doing great in general, one hopes? ** Caesar, Hi, C. The film wasn’t intended to take place in the desert originally, but because we needed a house where neighbors wouldn’t complain and where we could dig a swamp in the backyard and so on, the desert area and a house in the relative middle of nowhere became a cheap, obviously easy solution. Now we like that it’s in the desert. I haven’t seen ‘The Fabelmans’. I didn’t like ‘Tar’ much, but no fault of CB’s. The films I like the most tend to be very experimental and would never be nominated for an Oscar, or even an Independent Spirit Award, ha ha, in a million years. I think ‘EO’ and ‘All the Beauty and Bloodshed’ got nominated for something, and I liked those pretty well. I haven’t seen ‘Argentina, 1985’, but I’ll try to, thanks! Cool, I’m really glad you liked the post. Thanks for the hug and kiss. I’m boomeranging them back to you. Yeah, sunscreen, it’s trusty companion these days. Be well. See you again soon. ** Robert, Hey, Robert. Oh, awesome! Yeah, sure, about not getting my bearings with poetry, especially with Ashbery’s where I feel like getting lost in all that precise elliptical construction is a gift. His poems are like bottomless dreamy witty pits or something, even when they seem simple and shallow. Yeah, I could go on and on about his stuff. I’m really happy you like being in there too. Things with the film are pretty good and getting solid. How are you in general? Anything new and exciting apart from Ashbery? ** Loser, Hi! I’m kind of vaguely nudging into the fun part of making the film. Oh, nice, about the VCRchat project. That sounds really curious and splintery. And obviously about the comix. I hope I can see something of those ar some point. Thanks, thanks! Have an excellent next 7. ** Nick., Hey, hey! My brain is all film project vs. lessening preparation time. So, honestly, I think I’ve mostly thought about how we can get two small kids who can ‘act’ at least in a minimal way to be in the film, since that’s the big ask right now. We’re going to audition a 9 year old boy with waist length long hair soon after I post this. Great about your nice project involvement. What was is it, if you can say? Your imaginary friend sounds short story-worthy if not even film adaptation-appropriate. very pretty description/portrait. Interesting question. Hm, when I’ve felt like that around someone, it’a definitely not something as focused as lust or even love/crush. I get awestruck really easily. I remember being in junior high school and seeing this boy who I instantly thought was the most perfect, beautiful looking person I had ever seen, and I kind of went totally blank. My friends who were with me had to turn me in the opposite direction and shake me physically to get me back to normal. I think all possible feelings and desires in me were exploding all at once and cancelling each other out or something. It was like being at peace when I think about it. How interesting. Yeah, so I totally get that. I think I’ll need that extra time to think about the story but I will endeavour to make it mind-blowing, I promise. Eternal friendship it is!! ** Right. I decided to restore Eric Rohmer Day for whatever reason. Enjoy. I will see you in a week, whereupon things will return to normal on the posting schedule front for a while. Nice.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    One of the most sublime of all filmmakers, Rohmer masterpieces of everhting eeryone else leavesout. “Ma NuitChez Maude,” “La Collectionneuse,” “Le Rayon vert” and “triple agent: are isvery best.

  2. David Ehrenstein

    David Ehrenstein
    1462 S.Shenandoah St. #7
    Los Angeles, Ca. 90035
    (310) 657-0846

  3. Sypha

    Hey Dennis, cool to hear about the film, it sounds very exciting. It’s like 8 degrees here in Rhode Island right now… brutal weather… I’m actually wearing a winter coat indoors as I type this ha ha… almost done reading Bret’s THE SHARDS: stayed up till 3:30 AM last night reading almost 100 pages in it… have you read it yet? It’s really great…

  4. Cody Goodnight

    Hi Dennis!

    I am pleased your shooting schedule is moving decently well. I do wish the best for you, Zac and everyone involved in this production. The only film I have seen from Éric Rohmer is La Rayon Vert, which I found extraordinary. I really relate to the character of Delphine. I tend to wander around areas feeling unfulfilled, especially on vacation. I even signed up for summer classes last year so I could have something to do. It has gorgeous cinematography and a beautiful ending. I’ve been interested in Rohmer for a bit, and he’s probably the most interesting member of the French New Wave besides Jacques Rivette to me. Do you have any films you would recommend after La Rayon Vert? My television class is a lot of fun and very informative. This week we’re filming interviews and I got to be the floor director. TV production is something I’d like to try. There is a television studio near my college. Really I’d just love to be somewhere with a camera. I’ve heard great things about The Last of Us, mostly because my friends love the game it came from. I watched a little of Wednesday and I found it dull. Anything Tim Burton has done post Alice in Wonderland is mostly dull. My week was a mix. It snowed where I am and classes got cancelled. I felt happy to unwind and a little lonely and depressed because of the weather, even though I tend to love the snow. I had some interesting viewings as well this week. I watched Ulrike Ottinger’s Ticket of No Return and loved it. A fantastic film about self-destruction and alcoholism. I also started Derek Jarman’s filmography with Sebastiane and Jubilee. I loved Sebastiane for its poetic beauty, gorgeous cinematography, how it tackles power dynamics and Leonardo Treviglio. I just think he’s beautiful. I also loved Jubilee for its willingness to praise and admonish the punk movement for its positive and negative elements, and was just a fun ride. I will be watching Jarman’s The Tempest today and then watch Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face. Have a great week, Dennis!

  5. shadeoutMapes🍄

    hii! hello how are you?!
    Anyways this week was quiet an emotional rollercoaster but fortunately right now everything is beautiful, and I feel so exulted to be here right now! I think it’s crazy because there’s always some fear that when I become immensely happy, and the day greets me with a warm hug, that the next day everything will come undone, but I felt this way for a while and maybe it’s the dbt but I’m not sure? Oh btw, is dbt a universal name that is applied not just where I live? Because if I didn’t know what it was, I would’ve thought it was something you’d find tested + in a urine sample! You know I think it may be the book on stoicism that I got from the library, btw there was a heroin needle near the library stairs, fun! kidding, but I think philosophy has had a profound effect on me recently. Oh, I actually wanted to talk about this other book I got from the library but maybe another day.

    I had a friend came over today, he’s kind of one of those friends that pisses me off but only because they care, I guess. For example, he came over one day, and my room was a dreadful mess and he started to clean it without my permission, despite my annoyance. Another day he made me eat a can of spaghetti-Os in front of him when I had no appetite. I guess it’s a bit excessive but it’s sort of good to have friends like that, no?
    I’m genuinely surprised ROTC existed that far back, I guess I’ve just never been interested in the history of it, where they weird then? or like how did they act? if you don’t mind me asking?

    I love cats ahh! I feel they can be so much more human than us. I have a cat named Frankie she has a belly that swings when she runs and sometimes, I grab it because it’s like a stress ball. I wanted to write a movie or book about a stray cat going through some form off animal abuse but have a very serious gritty tone, sort of like an anti-Gummo film. I feel like there’s a lot of potential in the animal perspective genre but a lot of it its focused on these shitty PG films with Kevin Spacey as a talking cat, I mean films like Watership down and plague dog are movie subjects I really like.
    Oh pigeons! They are funny creatures but everything I think of them my mind goes to that one Nicholas Cage movie where he runs through New York chasing pigeons and eating the one he catches.

    oh, I had a question I was going to mention after one of the other things I said above but I forgot to say it!
    I feel like when I’m feeling sad or whatever I tend to really like human comfort, like hugging and stuff like that, and even when I see a really good friend in public, I just love hugging them. Would you say your like that a very physical person when it comes to showing emotion or whatever? I think it’s really powerful the influence someone who cares can have on you.
    so yea! 😀


    Hi Dennis, good blog entry. I don’t know who said that watching a Rohmer movie was like watching a plant grow. Apart from Pauline A la plage I have not seen any of his films and it is not among my favorites either. I’m not as much of a movie buff as I wanted to make out. Hugs

  7. _Black_Acrylic

    I’ve never seen any Eric Rohmer films, so thank you for this overview. I figure Claire’s Knee would be a good place for me to start, on the strength of its title alone.

    Leeds United have sacked their manager Jesse Marsch today. They should never have got rid of the genius Marcelo Bielsa if you ask me. A return of the prodigal son would be nice.

    I watched Pigsty on DVD and enjoyed it a great deal. Last night I also saw the smash hit M3GAN which was a guilty pleasure and great fun. I do wonder if Gisele has seen this, as it’s a cultural phenomenon by now and she surely has an opinion? Would very much like to see the evil doll perform at the Oscars.

  8. NLK

    Perfect post for me today, I just started going through Rohmer’s early films. He’s super fun, definitely more so than his brooding reputation would suggest. What’s your favorite of his films?

    Re: Yeah, my ears always perk up when I find someone passionate about, well, anything. I’ve stopped asking most people “what do you like?” because I got so depressed always hearing “I don’t know”. This kid getting excited about exploding into a fireball in a 1930s warplane without a parachute creeped me out a bit, but it was human.

    Actually, that reminds me of one of my weirdest high school memories: someone’s grandpa or great uncle who was a Vietnam vet came to my history class to show off photos and bits from his uniform. But somewhere in the middle of his presentation he went off script and started telling us, without changing his tone, about how his unit tied up Vietnamese prisoners of war and rode them around like dogs and tried to humiliate them, giggling the whole time like it was a tale about some typical schoolboy prank. The teacher tried to intervene to change the subject but she didn’t succeed for a while and at some point, he asked me if I was ready to go to war. I said no and he called me a curly-headed draft dodger. True Americana.

    I’m not doing bad. Things are good but I’m a little restless, literally and figuratively. I convinced some writing friends to let me read their stuff so that’s providing some fun and inspiration. One of them writes fiction but is weirdly allergic to revision and I can’t decide if I should try to convince him otherwise or leave him be. I picked up the new novel by Constance Debré today without having read her other books, so we’ll see what that’s like. What about you? Or, I kind of already know how you’re doing from the other PSs so maybe I’l be more specific: any interesting dreams lately?

  9. Meg Gluth

    Dennis! how ya doing? I’ve been ok, I’ve had a lot of death around me recently….we had to put our old dog down a few weeks ago, and my aunt just died, and my longest friend in the world ended his life. And a good friend of mine’s cat just died. Anyway, feeling just kinda off and weird. Does he idea of a Steven and Meg visit/meetup in SoCal still sound like a good idea? If so what kinda date ranges jibe with your and the film’s schedule?

  10. Dominik


    Exciting film progress news again! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the kid roles!! Did love help you out – did the six-year-old girl’s parents say yes?

    I’m currently reading Martin Bladh’s “DES,” which is even more intriguing than I expected. And such a beautiful book too.

    Love making your last few days in L.A. (well, at least for now) super fruitful – making sure you find all the missing crew members and locations (if you’re still missing any!) before you fly back to Paris, Od.

  11. alex

    hi dennis –

    great to hear the behind-the-scenes work is progressing well! I’m personally crossing my fingers that your March 20-April 20 shooting schedule holds if only cause it ends on my birthday haha

    wonderful post too, I love Eric Rohmer’s films. back during lockdowns I went through his Six Moral Tales, first reading the novelized versions of each then watching the films, and it was neat seeing where they differed and converged. have you read them before? those movies use so much voiceover narration that they’re prosaic in their own way, but I recall La Collectioneuse being particularly different in its written structure, jumping between the three characters’ perspectives.

    funny you say that about cartoons on acid since one of the reasons I avoid movies while tripping is because all I can think about is the artifice behind it and then I get lost thinking about how the set’s a set or how the actors behaved when they called cut. somehow with animation my brain gets more invested in what’s on screen, maybe cause it’s so beyond the confines of reality already.

    I did get some writing done last week and some more today which feels encouraging, so thanks for the hefty hopes! I’m reaching the end of a first draft of a chapter I’ve been working on for months now and I’m a bit eager to tie it up before my new job starts in less than two weeks. it feels a bit like a race against time but I think in this case the pressure is good.

    safe travels back to Paris!

  12. Steve Erickson

    The cast photo you posted on FB looks great! Where did you take them out to dinner? Do you have any actors left to hire?

    Tomorrow, I have my first appointment with a physical therapist for my inner ear condition (if that is the cause of my brain fog and vertigo.) I’m nervous that it will be torturous (it’s only a 15 minute walk away, but I expect to hire a car for the trip home.)

    I came back to New York last weekend. The trip was actually pretty grim. My mom’s not in very good shape (without having a specific condition beyond chronic pain), and she’s so hard of hearing that it’s hard to communicate with her. I saw much more tension between her and my father than I ever have, and it rubbed off on me. Further, my dad gave me a ride to the train station the day I was supposed to return but got there too late, so my return was delayed.

    I hope you’ve recovered from jet lag by the time you post here next.

  13. Ian

    hey dennis. I hope all is going well with film prep. Saw the pics on FB of the cast. Looking good! We arrived in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, yesterday. Going to the beach for the afternoon. Gonna eat lots of tacos and do some writing this afternoon/evening.

    I am unfamiliar with Rohmer’s films but I see that they are popular with ppl on my twitter feed. I will check them out. I need to start watching more french films as it will help with my own french.

    love and daisies,

  14. h now j

    Hi, Dennis!! How great to hear the cast is almost completed. Exciting. I saw the pics on Facebook as well. Filmimg schedule sounds nice, too. Safe travels!

    Haha, forest animals are nice. They teach me vulnerability and wisdom. I try to not spend too much time with them, though, for myself because I need to leave them soon. Would be too sad to leave them.

    More soon! Hope you can get some rest after the busy trip.


  15. T

    Hey Dennis. Just popping in to say welcome back, hope the jetlag is not too brutal, and no sweat about the concert – you’ll get a full report from me and we’ll sort something else in time. Have you listened to an artist called the Ephemeron Loop – I think she was previously in a band called Guttersnipe. Anyway, today I listened to their track “Acetoxyhexorchid I (Cluster Phase)”, it’s fucking majestic and I feel you might dig it too. Have a day that sounds just like that, love and see ya soon, xT

  16. Damien Arkfeld

    Funny that you’re in the PSP area, where I fly to frequently with my regional airlines. It’s a very turbulent airport. The gay scene there isn’t really my thing… Not as horny/depraved as I hoped it’d be, either. The weather is very nice right now, isn’t it? In two months, it’ll be back to over a hundred degrees every day! Ah, knowing you’re shooting next to those trees is very exciting. All of the city names over there are so aesthetically pleasing to me – Twentynine Palms, Desert Hot Springs, Cactus City, Thousand Palms (!!). Hope you’re having a good time. When you return, may I request a post of Czech films or a Czech filmmaker ?? 🙂

  17. Robert

    Hi Dennis, not a whole lot of exciting stuff going on over here but in a good way. The writing has been chugging along smoothly so I’ve been spending pretty much all hours of the day working on that. It’s nice not having anywhere to be from 9-5 now–I’m at home for the next few months. I set all these goals I wanted to have finished by the time I move back out somewhere else, but I’m pushing up against the limits of my endurance and/or brainpower a little, so I’m sort of letting everything take a back seat to the writing. Any luck with the kids?

  18. Nick.

    Hi! How are you? How was your week or just the wildest thing that happened from it. Mine was a bit of a blur as always but I did see some friends at some point which was fun! Just watched trash tv and got a free meal and drugs which is always a plus! I’m sitting in a club right now after watching irreversible by gaspar in theater for the first time which was a bit harrowing but really cool too. Oh I’m also coming up on some mushroom chocolate I took I think??? Oh the projects well some are secret so I can’t tell you until I get the results and one is just this guy I met randomly months ago wanted to like work with me on some stuff suddenly, we’re still talking about it so nothing like defined but he kind of just gets my vibe so I’m really excited too be honest! Hum I’m dying to party so I think I’ll ask about a really crazy party you went to once?? What happened who was there and what did you feel like when you got home? And omg isn’t that peaceful feeling from boys a bit menacing? I’m kind of super scared of boys who can do that to me it feels like a personal attack kind of? Maybe just because it’s so rare I’ve felt it like oh you are perfect and it’s scaring me let’s be together forever maybe?? I’m dying to get a stamp so I can leave this club and walk to a party my friends hosting for a bit so I’ll sign off here! Hope you’re well friend talk soon!

    ~ Nick.

  19. Caesar

    Hello, Dennis! Hope you are well! How has your week been? Hopefully better than mine. Although it wasn’t too bad, it’s been VERY VERY hot here. We will reach temperatures of 40 degrees according to the news. I also had a fight with a friend. I don’t think we will talk again. It’s a little sad because I started him on your literature and we were sharing that and other things. However, I think our time is over. It is sad but I am very relieved at the same time. Sorry for unloading here. I was going to do it earlier but I was very drunk and sad and didn’t want to spread myself too thin as I dream of doing. I just wanted to get it out in a place where it would be easy to do so. Anyway, Valentine’s Day is coming! I don’t know if it means anything to you on that day but I hope you have a great time! I think I’ll go to the movies with the guy I like. I was thinking of seeing ‘Aftersun’ or ‘The Banshees Of Inisherin’ because I didn’t see them in the theater and I think they are a great opportunity that they are still playing. May I ask the reasons why you didn’t like ‘TÁR’? If there are any, of course. I understand what you mean, I would have loved for ‘Titane’ to win the Oscar but it wasn’t even nominated!
    Among other news, I’m back to work again! It’s a great opportunity to buy books again! Although because the price of paper has gone up here they are more expensive. I need to go to a country where books are more affordable. I am finishing a book about the 1871 yellow fever epidemic here in Buenos Aires! It has many ghosts both literal and metaphorical (political ghosts I love that concept) It is very exciting and spooky! If it’s no bother, if you know of good books and movies about ghosts, apparitions, something like ‘The Haunting Of Hill House’ or vengeful ghosts like the Asian ones (I love revenge stories more if there are ghosts in the middle) I would really appreciate it. Aside from starting work, in a month classes start at my university and that notoriously reduced my time so I want to watch and read as much as I can.
    Sorry for so much text. Thanks for reading and I send you a big kiss and hug. See you soon again!
    PS: As always, I loved this post! I love that in several of the things you see the characters have dialogues that are very much of poetry for me! They inspire me a lot!
    PS again sorry: Have you seen Pablo Larrain’s ‘Spencer’ with Kristen Stewart? If you have, did you like it? I’m in love with that movie. I’ve seen it like 3 times already. It keeps haunting me.

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