- Actors: Charlotte Very, Ferederic Van Den Driessche, Herve Furic, Michel Voletti
- Directors: Eric Rohmer
- Format: Anamorphic, PAL, Widescreen
- Language: French
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: Artificial Eye
- DVD Release Date: 26 Sept. 2005
- Run Time: 110 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- ASIN: B0007OC72S
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,624 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
A Winter's Tale 
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On holiday in Brittany, Parisian hairdresser Félicie has an idyllic romance that results in the birth of her daughter, Elise. Through a mix-up over her address, she loses touch with Elise's father, Charles, and becomes obsessed with the lost love of her life. She finds it impossible to settle with another man and wavers between two unsatisfactory relationships, while holding onto the dream that Charles may one day return. The second in Eric Rohmer's 'Tales of the Four Seasons' is a charming love story with the compelling quality of a fairy tale.
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Suddenly, its "Five years later" and we are in Paris in the winter, everyone is wrapped up warm, and Felicie has two on-off boyfriends: Loic, a youngish, intellectual observant Catholic librarian (Herve Furic, subtly superb) and Maxence, an older, fairly upmarket hairdresser. But she still longs for the seemingly lost love of her life, which produced a child, who is looked after much of the time by Felicie's understanding mother.
This is one of Rohmer's best late-period films, and for me the richest of his 'Tales of the Four Seasons' sequence. It's about love, patience, different kinds of faith, and it is about a young woman who is often tiresomely impetuous, but wonderfully human. Meanwhile, she waits, longs, and leads her two suitors a merry dance.
Some find Felicie - perfectly acted by Charlotte Very - a pain in the neck, very hard to like, and I suppose they have a point, though I think they miss it too. Yet she is never presented to us as someone either likable or even admirable (Rohmer rarely judges his characters) but simply a woman who once made an understandable if pivotal error - the wrong address, not the pregnancy! - and who is living to regret her own carelessness.
In a way, this is a tale about wrong addresses - given, lived at, moved to, and so on. Where do we truly belong, and with whom? Felicie seems always to be on the move, from one address to another, never at home.
I love this film - just as I love Rohmer's The Green Ray, My Night with Maud, Love in the Afternoon, and Pauline at the Beach - as much for its insistently human qualities as for its Chekhovian mix of despair, impulsiveness, and humour. Indeed, Rohmer could be said to be a Chekhov of the cinema, casting a wry yet compassionate eye over humanity in all its variety, showing us the good, the bad and the ugly, but leaving us to judge them all for ourselves, should we wish to.
Does Felicie ever find her Charles again? How I envy anyone seeing this for the first time.
The problem is with the heroine, not so much with her being headstrong - although this is quite irritating in her case - but more with the fact that she doesn't apply her philosophy with any rigour. Why be involved with these other men at all, causing only frustration to both of them? Whether Rohmer intends for us to see her as embodying a very flawed version of the wager is not clear, but he certainly seems to have a lot of patience with her. The fairy tale ending seems to be set up at face value, but it convinces less than in other of his films, because there is something too decided about her behaviour. Loic in particular is a very sympathetic character, I thought, who was actually rather more engaging than Felicie; the fact that we see him so much is another factor in the reunion with Charles feeling a bit hollow, because he feels like a stranger to us. Somehow it doesn't have the lightness of Le rayon vert, where Delphine meets her knight in shining armour in the context of a complete blank. Here there is too much water under the bridge. This is in itself interesting in its endless possibilities, but I don't think Felicie has the charm of other Rohmer heroines. Her insistence on her decision being final, and her pride in announcing it, grate considerably. Her blatant using of both men reminds me of Gaspard in Conte d'ete, which similarly falls slightly short, and, like this film, juggles three suitors, one of whom is very sympathetic, who gets mistreated (played by the wonderful Amanda Langlet). The subtle handling of the deeper questions is as deft as ever, but spring and autumn are the seasons that give more pleasure.
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