In 1957, Éric Rohmer took up editorship of the Cahiers du Cinéma, one of France's most influential film review magazines, which was, by the mid-to-late 1950s and early '60s, at the cutting edge of the ‘Nouvelle Vague’ movement. The movement argued for a renewed conception of the director as auteur, and ushering in a new wave of directors who valued involvement at every stage of a film’s creation; undoubtedly the essays that filled the pages of the Cahiers du Cinéma had a great influence on Rohmer’s own output as director.
Rohmer's films are noted for their profundity and psychological insight. His primary aim was to portray through film the reality of life for ordinary people, trying to come to terms with their relationships, needs and commitments. Rohmer is remembered in particular for the strength of his dialogue and for his moral engagement. Film was, for him, the ideal medium for engaging with reality, in particular, the inner world of people's thoughts and feelings. His films have been noted for their tendency to fall into two main subgenres, the Moral Tales and his Comedies and Proverbs. The two categories differ significantly, with the former taking a predominantly male perspective and moralizing subject matter, and the latter a female perspective, focusing on relationships and 'would-be romances', with a journey of coincidence and complication, often concluding in acceptance and resolution. Rohmer's films are strikingly consistent in subject, tone and quality, as well as displaying his adeptness at suspense, resulting from his lifelong fascination with Hitchcock.
Throughout January, then, the BFI Southbank will be screening a selection of his most important works, appropriately beginning with Signe Du Lion, his 1959 directorial debut. From there begins a tour of the director’s career, and an eclectic programme; Rohmer’s international breakthrough Ma Nuit Chez Maude (My Night with Maud) sits alongside critical favourite Le Rayon Vert (The Green Ray) and a range of lesser known works, including his Tolstoy adaptation La Sonata à Kreutzer (The Kreutzer Sonata.) The season will be a fantastic opportunity for those unfamiliar with Rohmer to get to know the work of one of France’s most important directors.
|What||Éric Rohmer Season, BFI|
|Where||BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, Southbank, London, SE1 8XT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
01 Jan 15 – 31 Jan 15, various times and dates
|Website||Click here to book via the BFI Southbank’s website|