Monday, 11 January 2010

Sentimental Pornography ( homage to Eric Rohmer)

Death is efficiently doing her job these days, and today she took Eric Rohmer who at 89 was still a young man. Like most of you I discovered his work with Claire’s knee, and really loved how he turned in theory and speeches all the questioning about love, and seduction. Though it’s Roger Vadim who made the sixties adaptation of les liaisons dangereuses, most of Rohmer’s opuses questioned the morality of love behaviour. His work was very soon compared to Marivaux’s plays which with subtility, charm and humour explored the mysteries of love and seduction. Being extremely written and non emotional, there was little room left for actors interpretation, Rohmer’s mise-en-scène is also very static and simple and can be compared to Ozu’s who was also interested more in human interaction than in action. I love very much his films and as he was a teacher in my university I could have followed his classes!( he was already quite old)! The Rohmer who touch me the most emotionally is Chloe in the Afternoon!

Here's what I wrote in 2007 in my old blog The Scattered Truth
septembre 08, 2007 :

There was a long time!
There was a long time that I didn't watch films by Eric Rohmer. When I was in my early twenties, I loved them very much, but I made an overdose with the Green ray which bored me to the core! The acting is not very good ,it's almost like filmed books, but it's always, always witty, orignial and clever on the universal subject of Love.
Today I watched two of his films, Pauline à la Plage, Pauline at the Beach, and L'amour l'aprés midi, Chloe in the afternoon.
I won't talk about the first one, because it's not a discovery for me. I have seen it lots of times.
Now about Chloe in the Afternoon, I didn't know that I haven't seen it, of course I got aware of that from the beginning.
It's the story of a married man, who's tempted ,without admitting it, by infidelity. What a pitch! it looks probably like the life of every married man on earth,He dangerously becomes friend with an old acquaintance, a fascinating woman, played by Zouzou, (who strangely says that she will probably become a homeless woman which actually happened to her in real life!) . He's very attracted to her, and you know, you feel that he won't resist her. She admitted her feelings to him and that doesn't stop him to meet her in her room, and dry her properly under her command. But then when she's lying on the bed gorgeously naked, and he begins to undress he sees himself playing with his turtle neck sweater the same way he did with his child. So he opens the tap, let the water run and run away.
Then he calls his wife, and go back home, and they talk properly, like they never did. He was saying to Chloe, the mistress to be, that with her he felt comfortable and that with his wife he was playing a part. So when he comes back to the wife, he drops the mask and she does too, and then you don't think that he's coming back to his bourgeois life because they both free their feeling and she cries, they drop the masks as I wrote, they show who they really are. What we thought during all the film would be the end of their relationship, was actually just the end of the first cycle, of the beginning, of the shallow level where you PLAY house! And now they reach intimacy they're naked but not in their bodies, in their souls!

I think that this film is amazing, I am still gaping, you can't see it because you can't see me, I was truly taken by surprise! Before I hear you judging this man as a bastard, what I love about Rohmer's movies is that they are almost ethnological studies of love in our society, love and desire and animality, which means that there is no judgement and there is no progress possible with judgement, I mean that if this man didn't have this adventure with Chloe he would have become numbed and would have been stuck all his life in the clowney character he was playing with his wife and probably would have finished by cheating on her instead of really knowing her. What I love about this movie is that of course I would have been satisfied if he had slept with Chloe ( because she's great and we don't get to know very well his spouse), but I wouldn't have learnt anything, I wouldn't have been really touched only entertained.
He has this reverie at the beginning of the film that he possesses a medallion that control people’s will power and that without consequences he could sleep with all the women.
Chloe is a polygamist, she doesn't believe in fidelity, she thinks that it is not love to make love to the woman who inhabits your bed, but she just divides feelings between passion and tenderness. Don't you actually become a saint when you approach sin and resist it? When you've been so far in the desire that there is no more chance that you would resist!
Fidelity for this man was from the beginning only words, imposed words, and that it became real the moment he was about to loose it. I've heard so many times, that man is an animal and that animals are not faithful, wolves are, when fidelity is a written rule, it means nothing to be faithful you're just following a law, and you should move on, leave the person. On the other hand if it's dictated by your guts, this means that you're above the shallow level, not above, under, that you're going under the surface to meet your soul, your mirrored soul!

I told you it's an amazing film.

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