Cinematographer: Paul Fitzgerald, Pascal Sentenac
by Tory Maddox
Allegedly a right-leaning intellectual, Eric Rohmer's films have largely gone under the radar compared to other New Wave auteurs. And compared to them he's also far less interesting.
The first two moral tales (of the six part series) are forgettable. Though it does go to show that weak debuts don’t destroy careers. In the first few micro budget films he began each take with his performers' action follow by rolling the camera and lights follow in order to save money. He was a writer who wrote novels and short stories and decided to adapt them. This explains the first two tales’ use of voice over (I can’t recall if My Night at Maud’s had one and I haven’t seen the other three). Everything in the interview was mildly interesting. He liked combining actors and non actors. He enjoyed the 1.33 format and hated what televisions and some theaters did to this films. He enjoyed watching movies at home far more than the theater. He enjoyed that non-actors could deliver hyper-realistic performances, though it was limited to who they were as actual people. He had a falling out with Cahiers de Cinema and with Truffaut, in particular.
The interview never gets much into the subjects of his work. Once again, I would love to know what the moral issues were within the first two tales. I was left not entirely sure who the filmmaker was or what he cared about. In the great Charlie Rose interview with David Foster Wallace, Charlie asked all about the things he liked and believed in order to get know him and better understand the work. For someone whose films are thick character studies I was surprised that it never got past aspect ratios and the prepping of a scene. Why spend time on his directing process when it’s so subtle? There are no extravagant visuals. It’s all about the characters and yet they were hardly explored. And if they were, I don’t recall.
BELOW: The complete interview
Thoughts on films, old and new
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