Rohmer est mort

So Like an Angel.

A Terrible Confession: I have read more novels by Sax Rohmer than I have seen films by Eric Rohmer. Nevertheless, DIE MARQUISE VON O struck me as a pitch-perfect and fascinating vision of Kleist’s story (which through some strange fluke I have read)  and I’ve been looking forward to fitting more ER works into my “screening schedule,” which is more improvisatory than perhaps it ought to be.

It’s sad that Rohmer is gone. Another survivor from that ever-more distant Golden Age.

29 Responses to “Rohmer est mort”

  1. One of the Gods. His films are just beautiful and beautifully just.

  2. He once said young people were featured in his films not because he especially liked young people or had anything particular to “say” about them but because he wanted to make films about things happening to people for the first time.

  3. I think I might have read more Sax Rohmer books now than watched Eric Rohmer films, but that’s just a side effect of Project Gutenberg. I never read a Sax Rohmer book before 2006.

  4. He was one of the greatest film-makers in French history, right up there with Renoir, Tati, Bresson and the rest. He was also the oldest of the French New Wave. Closer to Bazin’s age than the young turks. Lived a whole career as a literature professor and teacher before he went into film criticism and found the New Wave mafia. And along with Rivette he had the latest start but as soon as he found his foot, he never looked back and the result is a career on his terms without any compromise and made with a level of beauty that was exquisite.

    He said in an interview that he changed his name to Rohmer because his family relations didn’t approve of him going into the movie business.

    And since Rohmer was Catholic…God bless Eric Rohmer!

  5. “La boulangere de Monceau” was sublime. Later Rohmer’s morality tales turned prickly. Really, what is the point of that? It is unfortunate he’s gone, but I can’t stand the elegaic tone of all these contemporary fans of New Wave cinema–‘Oh, where will the great films come from now?’ and all that shit. If Henri Langlois were still around, he would tell them to shut up and get working. Still, it is unfortunate. That leaves only Chabrol, and he has never liked the New Wave label. Maybe that’s why I still go to see his films.

  6. Best opening line of the new year. Eric Rohmer wasn’t exactly a must see filmmaker for the monster kid generation. I’m devoting the weekend to watching as much Rohmer as I can. Nice clips from Eherenstein.

  7. Nice tribute:

    I stopped reading Sax when the racism got too much for me. I could take the underlying racism behind the whole Fu Manchu concept, that was just campy, it was the random sideswipes at every other ethnic group that got me down.

    Eric, by contrast, seemed to like his people.

  8. TOG — don’t forget Godard, Varda and Marker, all still with us and all still productive. I guess it’s to do with French culture, and continental culture in general: in Britain and America we just don’t have filmmakers with careers that long. Except, it seems, Joseph Strick and Kenneth Anger.

    Frank, check out The Lady and the Duke, Rohmer’s FX film! And his Lancelot too!

  9. I saw Die Marquise von O… for the first time today. Rohmer took four years to make that film, the reason being he needed time to learn how to speak and read 18th Century German so as to write the dialogues of that film…perhaps the first to apply the techniques of method acting to the film-making process. It’s an amazing film, very beautiful although it’s far more restrained than the poetic melodramatic excessiveness of Kleist. Edith Clever and Bruno Ganz are perfectly cast needless to say and Nestor Almendros’ lighting is a treat to watch.

  10. david wingrove Says:

    This is truly eerie! We were talking about him on Sunday, as I’d watched my first-ever Eric Rohmer film (DIE MARQUISE VON O) the night before. It had been in the house of a couple of years when I (or rather, my partner) finally got the impulse to watch it.

    And we had no idea that Rohmer was dead, or that he was about to die!! When exactly did it happen?! There’s a weird synchronicity going on here.

  11. Sad to hear of Eric Rohmer’s passing. In many ways my favourite Rohmer film is still the lovely, haunting and enchanting CONTE D’ETE. I first saw it on tv, and can still recall the impression it made on me. It evoked mermories of summer, seaside and romance in the same way as Proust does in À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleur.

    When I heard of his death, that lovely poem by the French poet Francis Jammes, “A Prayer To Go To Paradise With The Donkeys” came into my mind:

  12. In memory of the eternally youthful Eric Rohmer:


  13. Sax’s racism was absolutely fascinating to me, as it seemed pretty total, and rather uninformed, unlike Kipling’s (which could still be pretty bad). I liked very much how MGM camped up Sax such that you couldn’t take it seriously. Even my father (who wasn’t exactly the most enlightened person, he was born in 1899) wouldn’t be comfortable with Sax. The one other thing I noticed in thrillers of an earlier century was their casual poisoning of dogs – I think both A.C. Doyle and Leblanc used that in their books.

    Eric Rohmer was often a minimalist in the films I saw and that I appreciated very much in the shoot-em-up ’80s, when I saw most of them. The subjects would often be small and intimate, and more interesting as I wasn’t always looking to get away from reality, but see it from a different angle.

  14. Errata: My dad died many years ago, so should be written as have been.

  15. >TOG — don’t forget Godard, Varda and Marker, all still with us and all still productive.

    er, and Jacques Rivette.

  16. Jenny Eardley Says:

    Chabrol and Godard will be 80 this year and Rivette 82! I hadn’t really thought about it but my gut told me they would be late 60s/early 70s.

  17. Jenny, that’s because they’re FROM the late 60s early 70s.

    Also because it’s staggering that they’re still so productive.

    Turns out my boss attended Rohmer’s lectures in Paris. She reckons she only understood about half due to her language limitations, but found him an inspiring lecturer. And the front row was always full of pretty girls hoping to get cast in his next talking picture.

  18. Fond as I am of Rohmer’s modern-day films (especially Un Conte D’Hiver – as ‘lovely, haunting and charming’ as Peter considers Un Conte D’Ete), for me his most unforgettable work is Perceval le Gallois, which is stunningly beautiful and has a pitch-perfect performance in the title role from a young Fabrice Luchini. I feel ashamed now that the DVD of The Lady and the Duke has sat negelected on my shelf since I bought it a couple of months ago. I’ll watch it in ER’s honour.

    A note to David W. – He died on Monday 11th, only hours after your initiation. Perhaps he felt he could now die happy!

  19. Jenny Eardley Says:

    That’s funny, I sat behind Mike Leigh at my brother’s graduation nearly 10 years ago and even though I don’t act I behaved like a total dick the whole time, hoping that he would cast me as a total dick in his next film I guess. I was working as a receptionist in the tourism sector at the time, which was boring cos the weather was bad so being discovered seemed preferable.

  20. Well reminded, Chris. Resnais, too.

    The Lady and the Duke shall get watched this week, I swear! There’s a stunning still over at The Auteurs in the Images of the Decade section.

    We’d all like to get discovered, surely? I don’t think Mike Leigh would be my first choice, but any port in a storm.

  21. Jadean, I agree with you about Fabrice Luchini in Perceval. I am reminded of Ingrid Bergman’s memorable performance in Rossellini’s wonderful Giovanna d’Arco al rogo.

  22. david wingrove Says:

    At least I managed to watch a whole Rohmer film while the great man was still on this earth. I failed a few years ago with PERCEVAL LE GALLOIS, and a decade before with MA NUIT CHEZ MAUD. As for the one about a man putting his hand on a woman’s knee (or not) I decided in my youth that life was just too short…perhaps I was wrong?

  23. ————————
    I decided in my youth that life was just too short…perhaps I was wrong?

    “Now, patience; and remember patience is the great thing, and above all things else we must avoid anything like being or becoming out of patience.” Jame Joyce Finnegans Wake

  24. david wingrove Says:

    Alas, I also decided years ago that life was far too short to read FINNEGAN’S WAKE.

  25. FINNEGANS WAKE is best tackled “peu à peu” as the French say. We could read a page a day, then meet up for a celebratory piss up in Fort William. Meanwhile, here’s film representation of sorts:

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