Screening: Claire’s Knee


From 11 June 2017


The lecture starts at 21:30 The screening starts at 22:00


Garage Screen summer cinema


Éric Rohmer’s fifth film from the cycle Six Moral Tales, which received top prize at the St Sebastian Film Festival, could be called the director’s confession of his love for literature, revealed through a series of plot twists.

Rohmer was a brilliant connoisseur of French literature, as much as a film director and theorist. Not surprisingly, in Jacques Rivette’s famous thirteen-hour-long film OUT 1, and its shortened version Out 1: Spectre, Rohmer was given the role of a Balzac expert, as he was a specialist in the oeuvre of Balzac in real life as well.

Claire’s Knee is a loose adaptation of a short story from the collection Contes moraux by the French writer and philosopher Jean-François Marmontel, which the name of the whole cycle’—Six Moral Tales—also refers to. The film, however, has one other literary prototype—the well-known epistolary novel Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, which Rohmer playfully interprets by turning its plot upside down.

The hero of the film is a middle-aged diplomat and intellectual named Jerome (Jean-Claude Brioly) who considers himself an expert on love affairs and is planning to “quit”, having selected a decent bride. Not long before the wedding, though, he meets an old female friend during vacation in the Alps—the writer Aurora, who is looking for a plot for her next novel. Aurora introduces Jerome to the two young daughters of the villa owner, where she has found her writer’s solitude, and keeps a close eye on Jerome as he becomes more and more involved in relations which at first seemed merely a play. The writer is always there, ready to fuel the flame of his desires that will provide material for her book.

Claire’s Knee is different from the rest of the films in the cycle by the absence of internal monologues—in Rohmer’s opinion, helping to liberate cinema from theatricality and bring it back to literature which he thought was closer to film, than theater. At the same, this is a great example for analyzing Rohmer’s plots, always implying the theme of desire, through the lens of psychoanalysis.

Before the screening, psychoanalyst Viktor Mazin will give his lecture “Éric Rohmer, the Psychoanalyst”.

Claire’s Knee

Director Éric Rohmer. France, 1970. 105 minutes.



Viktor Mazin is a psychoanalyst, film critic and theorist; founder of the Freud Dreams Museum (St Petersburg); honorary board member of The Museum of Jurassic Technology (Los Angeles); head of the department of theoretical psychoanalysis at the East European Institute of Psychoanalysis (St Petersburg); senior lecturer at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of SPbU; honorary professor of the Institute of Depth Psychology (Kiev); member of scientific council of the Sigmund Freud Foundation (Vienna); senior research fellow at the Bauhaus University (Weimar); editor in chief of Kabinet magazine, and co-editor of the Lacanalia resource. Author of multiple articles and books, translated into many languages. His books include: The Mirror Stage by Jacques Lacan (2005); The Dreams of Cinema and Psychoanalysis (2007); The Machinery by the Name of Human (2008); Paranoia: Schreber—Freud—Lacan (2009); The Oneirocritique of Lacan (2013); Jacques Lacan and Lou Salomé Watch Steve McQueen’s Shame (2014); Lacan in Film (2015); Freuds Gespenster (2015); Oneirography (2016).


Tickets are valid for both the lecture and the screening.

The screening is in French, with Russian subtitles.