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on 1 January 2016
La Collectionneuse

An young art dealer, Adrien, goes on holiday to a villa owned by a friend called Rodolphe. Staying there already are an artist he knows, Daniel, and a girl he doesn't, called Haydee...probably some kind of muse for the person who owns the house.

We mainly see from the male perspective. The narrative is told by Adrien, who has a high opinion of himself, and who regards Haydee as an "Amoral little sl*t"...He and Daniel play mind games with each other, about who will be first to sleep with her.

It seems both men are bewitched by her, despite themselves... but all she does is sit reading magazines and interject occasionally when they tease or berate her. The behaviour they regard as slutty, was that she kept leaving to go to town with a succession of young men, and they assumed she slept with them.

A film about Stockholm syndrome perhaps, and mind games through boredom. Adrien initially goes on holiday to find total peace, quiet and indolence...but his mind/ body leads him to another path, as much as he thinks he is in control.

Also... the artist, the art dealer (and the old collector Haydee and Adrien later meet) are seen to be as amoral as they regard Haydee, despite her lack of cultural capital. They believe themselves to be on a higher plain though. Cause they are pretentious d*cks!

My night with Maud

There's lot's of talk (well, it is Eric Rohmer), there's lots of sexual politics/ philosophy. But through meeting Maud, he is intoxicated, despite himself...and this feeling spills over into being more spontaneous with Francoise, who is a Catholic like him.

As someone older than the characters in the 60s film, who has passed up numerous chances, the film for me was bitter sweet. I know these pretty charismatic women are fully aware that life is a mirage, and you have to grab the bull by the horns sometimes.

Happiness is luck. But the less chances you take, the more likely you will be marooned far from love, temporal as it may be. A film about luck/ fate and the thin line between the two.
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on 27 May 2011
Exactly what was wanted: a nicely put together Artificial Eye DVD box set - six films on five discs - bringing together all of the "Moral Tales" series - the films that made Eric Rohmer's reputation & arguably the best films of his long career.

After the unfortunate false start of his debut ("Le Signe du Lion") Rohmer found his trademark style with the first Moral Tales "Girl at Monceau Bakery" & "Suzanne's Career" - 2 short 1963 films together on disc 1 of this box set. These are both freewheeling new wave fun - showing what you can do on a zero budget with some black & white film stock and a Paris street as a film set. Both films are coming of age stories (told by voiceover) about young men encountering women & love.
"My Night at Maud's" is probably Rohmer's masterpiece - a black & white film largely consisting of the protagonists sitting in Maud's bedroom talking about religion, politics, philosophy, love and sex (and mathematics!). A much richer film than it might at first appear, extremely accomplished with beautiful cinematography from Nestor Almendros & fantastic acting (especially from Trintignant in a demanding role).

In lovely 60s colour "La Collectioneuse" (1966) is my personal favourite & it's great to have it on DVD at last. Two young nihilistic bohemians spend their vacation at a summer house in the south of France, but find a girl already staying there. Various power & sexual mind-games ensue & in the end it is the girl who turns out to be the "liberated" one. At the same time that Godard was filming young Parisian Maoists in "La Chinoise", Rohmer was filming the Parisian dandy hedonists in a similarly ambivalent (satirical?) way. The film has a number of connections with the so-called "Zanzibar" group of bohemians (even Donald "Performance" Cammell pops up briefly). Anyone interested the Garrell circle (and films like Regular Lovers / The Dreamers) might want to check out "La Collectioneuse". Excellent central performances from Haydee as the girl and a young Patrick Bauchau (recently seen in Lars Von Trier's "Five Obstructions").

"Claire's Knee" (1970) is about a man on holiday who becomes obsessed with a teenage girl - her knee being the fetish of his obsession. Perhaps only a French director could film this as a universal moral tale rather than a story of unseemly perversion. "Claire's Knee" is one of Rohmer's best-known films as is "Love in the Afternoon", though the latter stands up less well in my opinion. Bernard Verley is a less impressive leading man than his illustrious predecessors in the Moral Tales series. The film also stars Zouzou (another Zanzibar group associate) who was already something of a sixties casualty when this film was made in 1972. She gives an all too believable performance as the former wild child becoming an embarrassment as she tries to go straight in the harsh new decade. But the rest of the film & cast seem to be playing in a register of mild conservative comedy cruelly at odds with Zouzou's character.

This box set is basic - no booklet & very basic annotations / information but there are a few extras (short films / trailers).
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on 10 April 2013
Great collection of Rohmer's masterworks...excellent prints to treasure for years.
My Night at Maud's is the stand-out film in the series but the others are excellent.
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on 11 November 2015
Great presentation of the Moral tales with some nice extras. Didn't know much about these films before buying the box, but now treasure it. Inspiring in many ways, if you love film this is a bargain.
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on 16 March 2016
Wonderful films. Arrived promptly
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on 8 December 2015
Still have a few to watch
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on 24 April 2015
Rohmer's films offer us a world of whimsical fascination and languor, which can be quite pleasant if one is in the mood. But the viciousness of his depiction of women - who are exposed as vain, capricious and insensitive at best - spoils much that is good in his work.
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on 2 May 2010
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on 20 December 2015
Claire's Knee is certainly stupid belly rumbling
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on 16 September 2015
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