Monday, March 16

Special Engagements Archive

A Tale of Winter

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Friday, March 13 – Monday, March 16

Conte d’hiver (1992) dir Eric Rohmer w/Charlotte Véry, Frédéric van den Driessche, Michel Voletti, Hervé Furic, Ava Loraschi [114 min; DCP; in French with English subtitles]
Eric Rohmer was unsurpassed at creating intelligent romantic comedies and intelligent female characters. A TALE OF WINTER, one of his most genial and audacious films, is a superb example of both facets. With Rohmer’s characteristic delight in surprise and paradox, winter, not spring, is seen as the season of rebirth and renewal, and its tale begins on a sunny beach. A young couple, Félicie and Charles, meet while on holiday and fall deeply in love. In a fatal slip, she gives him the wrong address, and, as a result, he disappears from her life. Five years later, at Christmas time, Félicie is a hairdresser in the Paris suburbs with a daughter (Charles’) and two lovers: the successful Maxence and the intellectual Loïc. She loves them both, but, as she says, “There’s love and love,” and the love that counts is the one she still holds for the long lost Charles. Félicie is one of the most fascinating in Rohmer’s distinguished line of heroines: impulsive, independent, thoughtlessly frank, disarmingly sincere, at once exasperating and enchanting. The plot centers on Félicie’s shifting allegiances to the three men in her life, with an abortive move to another city, a strange experience in the cathedral of Nevers, and a performance of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale among the stations on a roundabout journey that finally brings her face to face with the most basic issues of destiny and faith.

(3½ of 4 Stars) “This late work (1992) by the great Éric Rohmer — the second in his last cycle of films, ‘Tales of the Four Seasons’ — demonstrates the power of faith and love.” – Peter Keough, The Boston Globe

“The second of Rohmer’s ‘Tales of the Four Seasons’ is reminiscent of The Green Ray, while its wintry study of the varieties of love, faith and religious belief recalls the similarly sublime My Night with Maud. This is Rohmer at his very best, effortlessly and unsentimentally charting the absurd complexities of human psychology, while creating a compelling contemporary fairytale firmly rooted in the banality of everyday existence. It has, as ever, enormous compassion, wit and insight, and its ending is exquisitely affecting.” – Time Out London

“Eric Rohmer is the romantic philosopher of the French New Wave, the director whose characters make love with words as well as flesh… both prolific and consistently enchanting…” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“Eric Rohmer’s films… epitomize much that is wonderful and singular about the films of France.” – John Rockwell, The New York Times

“Tender, exquisitely graceful… Rohmer has been one of the cinema’s most challenging, literate voices, and in ‘A Tale of Winter’ — the second installment in his ‘Tales of Four Seasons’ — he builds his story with the same intelligence and passion for detail that he has in the past… Félicie is one of Rohmer’s strongest characters in years… It’s a small work, but nearly perfect.” – Hal Hinson, Washington Post

“‘A Tale of Winter’ finds him at his scintillating best, never wiser or funnier.” – Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times


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