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Compelling, if a bit too pointless.
A minor chapter in a major cycle unique in cinema. Rohmer's Contes Moraux was just getting geared up to speed with that second episode (a short, 54-min movie). Not much to comment: the actors are not particularly cinegenic and do not project enough of their inner selves to match Rohmer's novel and the rest of the suite. The Contes Moraux are thus distinctive not only because of Rohmer's incredibly idiosyncratic approach to cinema, but also due to the striking differences in quality when viewed chronologically.
In Suzanne's Career, poor technique (as well as amateurish acting) often distracts the viewer from the story, which in itself is quite interesting in fact.
Oh, and don't miss the last few minutes of the movie, where you will be able to watch the very first (uncredited) appearance of Patrick Bauchau in a movie, as Suzanne's final male capture.
<b>Eric Rohmer's 2nd Moral Tale</b>
--><i>Possible moral topic(s) treated:</i> Love triangles.
More complex than the previous moral tale, Rohmer's 16 mm black-and-white lens seems more reminiscent from the cinéma verité of John Cassavetes (<i>Shadows</i> ) than a participant of the New Wave movement, employing impressionistic French locations and unskilled actors with an environment devoid of any music. Moments, people and thoughts are what matter here, not style, or even the plot. Although the emotional evolvement of the characters has increased in difficulty and depth, the delivery is less inspired and convincing than the simplicity of <i>The Girl at the Monceau Bakery</i> (1963).
Still, the most wonderful stunt is to transform the idea of a love triangle that seemingly originated from an easily manipulated woman to a web of unspoken soliloquies representing the mental machinations that lead to the complications of friendships and subtle revenge in relationships. Although this movie also features three main characters and a short length, it introduces secondary characters heavy in importance and all the members of the love trio play an equally active role. There was a decline in rating, but a clear step forward. Now Rohmer must work in the entertainment factor.
Two friends fall in love for the same woman, an average girl by the name of Suzanne. Rohmer's alienated romance blends in with the style of the French New Wave, and while it doesn't necessarily stand out, it tells of a nice scene of young people in stylish France.
Another fantastic film by Rohmer. I'm really enjoying exploring him. This guy is way up my alley. So much in love.
My second Rohmer, and the second of his six moral tales. So far I'm liking him.
The second in Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales is, in many ways, an expansion of the first, 'The Bakery Girl of Monceau', though I don't believe that it ever quite reaches the same raw, telling achievement. In it, we take on the mind of Bertrand (Philippe Beuzen), a college student who at first finds himself drawn to the "abilities" of his friend Guillaume (Christian Charriere), who possesses a knack for being able to pick up women by being nothing short of despicable to them. He sees himself as a kind of pupil to Guillaume, or at least an audience to him, and at first his thoughts, told through Rohmer's signature voiceover narration, revolve mostly around analyzing his friend curiously. Those thoughts soon turn to disgust as he realizes that the women, particularly Suzanne (Catherine See) that Guillaume is hypnotizing actually enjoy this form of torment. He begins to wonder if he just doesn't understand the finer sex, and soon enough he attempts to plunge into that world himself. He hides behind the facade of having a crush on another girl, yet even as he insults Suzanne in his narration we begin to understand that she is everything he simultaneously fears and needs. He desires her and may never have her. In a perfect final scene, after it has become clear that Guillaume has apparently dropped out of the picture, Suzanne turns the torment around on Bertrand, who realizes that power and control can be a deceptively elusive concept.
Rohmer's second of his 'Six Moral Tales' feels somewhat more detatched than the first, 'The Bakery Girl of Monceau'. The energy built up at its start flags near the end, and the closing lesson is somewhat less thought-provoking than that of 'Monceau'. The main weakness with 'Suzanne' is in how Rohmer has stacked the film with a pair of distinctly unlikable male characters, but focuses primarily on the virtual flat-line of Bertrand. All that said, however, the power in Rohmer is how the smallest of things all add up to real life revelations, and two chapters in out of six, perhaps 'Suzanne's Career' comes to play a stronger role in subsequent films.
Bertrand, a scrawny philosophical student living in Paris, spectates on his egoistic friend's relationship with a naive girl.
While discussing European directors with my Dad, he brought up Eric Rohmer and said that he was a great underrated director. Recently my Dad brought home "Eric Rohmer's Six Morale Tales", and out of boredom I watched this one.
The acting was generally mediocre, though at times the actors were able to evoke that "hidden scars" emotion or express some sort of underlaying tension. More than anything, the film works as a time capsule from early 1960s Paris and you get the feeling that your actually experiencing the whole loose/college lifestyle that the characters are portraying. Also, it's well photographed and manages to retain astounding atmosphere.
The narrative unravels more like a piece of literature than a film, which is why this stands out in a sea of obscure foreign classics. Even though every character comes off as either too mundane or too simple; Bertrand's narration provides a philosophical look at every crack and crevice in their personalities. That being said; it's very slow and there aren't any explosions, shoot-outs, or car chases; but I really enjoyed this one because you could tell that Rohmer is a intelligent person who wants his audience to actually learn something from his film, and all the while proving his passion for film-making.
Ultimately, it's a fascinating cinematic endeavor from the Beat Generation. 91/100