When you watch a film you can’t help but notice the time. Time in an Eric Rohmer film is like a human stain that will never rub off. It’s not intentional, it’s not labored. It’s effortless and welcomed. Like a conversation with an old friend you’ve casually bumped into.
If the standard Hollywood fare is just too much for you, you’ll love the time you’ll spend watching the neoclassicism of a Rohmer film. Perhaps it’s because his filmmaker’s lens isn’t one born out of a film school. Rohmer was an academic-turned-film-critic-turned-revered filmmaker. Always maintaining his own narrative throughout his career as a director and writer, he never adapted the works of others.
Film was an opportunity to bring his written works to life. He cobbled a string of short stories that would never see the light of day in a run of the mill bookstore, and transformed them into engaging films about the imperfect human experience.
Rohmer shied away from casting well-known actors because he believed the audience would be awestruck by the actor’s off-screen persona and wouldn’t allow themselves to give their full attention to the story at hand.
His approach to cinema was built on the resistance to many of the pains of contemporary life. Full Moon in Paris, which opened last weekend, is part of TIFF’s Dangerous Liaisons: The Films of Eric Rohmer, includes 24 films and two programs of shorter work, from his breakthrough My Night at Maud’s, through Pauline at the Beach and The Green Ray, to his final film, The Romance of Astrée and Celadon.
Full Moon in Paris is a simple romantic story of a young interior designer who wants a little freedom from what she perceives to be a suffocating relationship. To assert her independence she gets an apartment in Paris, while at the same time lives with her boyfriend in the suburbs.
Her little experiment doesn’t pan out the way she had hoped but, the events that occur in between are too good to miss. On the one hand, she loves the nightlife and her boyfriend, on the other hand, she does not.
The late Pascale Ogier is Louise. Ogier earned a Venezia: Volpi Cup for this role and also received a César Best Actress nomination posthumously. The French actress tragically died of a heart attack the eve of her 26th birthday.
Simply put, this two-decade retrospective is special and mustn’t be missed.
Dangerous Liaisons: The Films of Eric Rohmer runs through Aug. 28 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.