Eric Rohmer: Realist and Moralist

May 2, 2009

I found this book worthwhile, especially as it is so short.

The author, C. G. Crisp, gives a much more objective interpretation to Rohmer’s films, based on his reading of Rohmer’s interviews and criticism, than I had come to from only the films. Crisp sees the films as a narrative of a journey away from and back to a place in the normal order, an order both natural and moral. I had viewed them as an individual’s struggle toward self discovery. It is only in the last scene, and after many false tries, that it is apparent what the person trully desires. Our usual condition, then, is to be caught up in self deception, making ourselves miserable while trying  both to live out and to rationalize a way of life that does not suit us.

The book dates from 1988, so it does not cover the more recent films, but that hardly makes a difference.