Éric Rohmer is rightfully regarded the main aesthete of French cinema. His films derive from the rich classical tradition in literature and painting, which he plays and gets into dialogue with, entwining it into contemporaneity. The visual order of his pictures often implies stylization of iconography of the French Revolution period in painting, while his scripts continue the literary tradition of the eighteenth century.
In the cycle’s third film, the theme of art comes into foreground for the first time. The main hero, who is also the narrator, is going to open a private art gallery, but himself becomes an object of observation and evaluation by Haydée—a stunning femme fatale who he shares a friend’s villa with on the French Riviera. The characters get involved in a sophisticated game, where each one is aiming to beat the other by constantly raising the stakes and pretending to surrender the lead.
Rohmer’s aesthetic attitudes will be outlined in a lecture by film critic and translator Inna Kushnareva. She will touch upon the director’s theoretical texts (the collection of articles “The Taste for Beauty” and others), the traces of classical painting iconography inherent in his films, as well as his loose screen adaptations of literary works whereby the director follows in the footsteps of the eighteenth century belles-lettres tradition.
Director Éric Rohmer. France, 1967. 90 minutes.