Director Eric Rohmer's FULL MOON IN PARIS is the fourth in his series of "Comedies and Proverbs" starring Pascale Ogier and Tcheky Karyo. To some, Rohmer is an acquired taste. You either embrace or dislike his style of filmmaking. He is one of the few directors that really know how to direct women. He has an uncanny knack of getting inside their minds, and Full Moon In Paris is no exception.
The story opens in Louise's (Pascale Ogier) apartment home in Marne-La-Vallee that she shares with boyfriend Remi (Tcheky Karyo). Remi is an architect and a home bird, while Louise is more the out going type. She is the very opposite to Remi's rather conservative personality. Although in love with him, she feels uncomfortable whenever they go out together, as she senses that Remi is ill at ease over her long hours of socializing. Ideally, she wants to move to Paris where she works as a designer so that she can enjoy the nightlife with her friends.
Enter Octave, played by Fabrice Luchini. Octave is a writer who is married with one child. He also happens to be Louise's confidant. There is a great scene in Octave's home, when Louise, who is trying to resist his advances, offer's her opinion about when women should have children. Ogier looks really beautiful in this scene, and I love her hairstyle. In someway her dress demeanor is like a montage. She's impish, sexy, and refined at the same time. As Octave says she is flirty without realizing it.
This encounter with Octave shows that Louise is a woman of some intellect. For instance, her observations of life are well defined. She is conscious that some women have a limbo period in their mid- twenties, and that nature is forcing her to re-examine her own life.
As she says herself, she has been in and out of relationships since she was fifteen, and now needs time and space to be on her own. She is not prepared to make a long-term commitment to Remi just yet, and fears if she did she would lose contact with her youth.
In a way, Remi's stifling persona is partly to blame for her problem. He is several years older than her, and cannot comprehend why she does not behave like he does. She is artistic and likes socializing. While he plays tennis and doesn't. Clearly in his thirties, Remi has enjoyed his life as a twenty something, but now wants to curtail Louise of that privilege by pressing her into marriage. In essence, Louise senses that Remi is killing her youth. (There is a common thread in Rohmer's films, about lovers from different generations falling in and out of love, and Full Moon continues this theme).
When Louise eventually moves into her old Parisian apartment, she tries to convince Remi that her decision to stay in Paris during weekdays, only returning to him at weekends, would be best for both of them. Alas, her wish to have a more independent lifestyle does not last, and the loneliness of staying at home without a partner is well underlined during this segment of the film.
Desperate to have some company she meets Octave in a café bar. Where during a trip to the ladies room, she almost stumbles upon Remi. When she returns she tells Octave what she had just seen. While he claims he did not see Remi, he did observe a woman that looked rather familiar. Liking her to someone that they both met at an earlier function. But he wasn't sure. Louise looking worried recalls a joke she had made to Remi. It was a test about going out with other partners to see if they were still committed to each other.
This apparent discovery sends Louise on a rebound where she meets Bastien, a musician played by Christian Vadim. The two of them enjoy each other's company, but Octave, who also has designs on her, arrives at the same party and disapproves of Louise's newfound friendship. It is at this point that the film evolves, with some fascinating insights into the female mind.
Without doubt, Rohmer's screenplay delivers some of the best dialogue ever written for the big screen. Fabrice Luchini, who later returns in one of Rohmer's finest films
4 ADVENTURES OF REINETTE & MIRABELLE, is perfectly cast as Octave.
I have a strong suspicion that Luchini's character is really Eric Rohmer in disguise, much the same way that Jean-Pierre-Leaud played Truffaunt's altered ego in STOLEN KISSES. Viriginie Thevenet and Laszlo Szabo are also excellent in supporting roles. Lastly, one must not overlook Tcheky Karyo's portrayal of Remi. His performance as a man frustrated with Louise's outgoing personality is a memorable one.
The film ends in double irony, one intended by the screenplay, and the other following completion of the film. While Tcheky Karyo is now an international star, playing in blockbusters like The PATROIT, GOLDENEYE, and most notably as the villain in BAD BOYS, fate was not so kind to Pascale Ogier. Sadly, she died from a heart attack several months after the film was made on October 25th 1984.
Pascale not only starred in Full Moon In Paris, she was set designer as well. The Master (Rohmer) is known for letting colors flow in his films, but Ogier, obviously in the driving seat, appeared to have controlled the amount of color used in this film. The net result is a striking presentation of less is more by Ogier. Eric Rohmer has always been faithful to those who have worked with him, and no doubt had she lived he would have used Pascale Ogier again. She was a beautiful talented soul that was taken from us at just twenty-four years of age.
In a fitting appreciation of her contribution to the motion picture industry,
Pascale Ogier was awarded Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival in 1984 for her performance in Full Moon In Paris.