Streaming Ticket Package: Éric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons
April 23–July 31, 2021
This special discounted package features access to all four films in the streaming series Éric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons. Shot on location in various regions of France in the 1990s, when Rohmer was at the height of his powers, the Tales of the Four Seasons probe the psychological and philosophical mysteries of love—elusive, imagined, or manifest.
Films in this Screening
A Tale of Springtime
(Conte de printemps)
Éric Rohmer, France, 1990
Spring is a time for transformation—but one must be set free from one’s moorings. A philosophy teacher, Jeanne, has two apartments but can’t stay in either one; she lives in her thoughts, in any case. Invited to stay with a piano student, Natacha, who lives in the house and shadow of her still young and sexy father, she becomes enmeshed as Natacha works out her father complex. But Freud is never the operating philosopher in a Rohmer film. Rather, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (which Jeanne happens to carry with her) suggests the role the imagination plays in making reality. A mystery (or McGuffin) involving a missing necklace, and Plato’s ring of Gyges that makes people invisible, are equally fantasies by which people live and learn to trust.
A Tale of Winter
Éric Rohmer, France, 1992
Frédéric van den Driessche
Paris is prosaic in winter; one has to provide one’s own transcendent metaphors. For Félicie (Charlotte Véry), the sidewalks, buses, and Métro are only potential meeting places for her lost love Charles, to whom she gave a wrong address in a ditzy slip years ago, then had his child. Now she vacillates, seemingly impetuously, between two perfectly opposite suitors—a beauty shop owner and a Catholic intellectual. Pascal, Plato, and Victor Hugo (author and ubiquitous street name) incongruously appear to guide this decidedly unintellectual heroine whose bedrock spirituality has only to do with hope, the absurdity of which is its own justification. Bresson, Hitchcock, and Shakespeare appear to have guided the filmmaker. As in White Nights, Vertigo, and The Winter’s Tale, “People who were thought dead are resurrected.”
A Tale of Summer
Éric Rohmer, France, 1996
The setting of Dinard (a gorgeous holiday resort on the Brittany coast) may be new, but Rohmer’s typical themes of youthful romance, doubt, and vanity remain the same, presented with the controlled grace of a master. Within a week of arriving in town, the sensitive, handsome Gaspard finds himself entangled with three women. Sooner or later he may have to decide between them, but maybe not; the summer, after all, is still young. A Tale of Summer functions more like a warm breeze than anything solid. Characters linger on the beach, dissecting every uncertain glance, every failed connection, and every hopeful touch; romantic dreams, the sun and warmth are the source of this summer’s tale, where everyone is still hopeful, and all things possible.
A Tale of Autumn
Éric Rohmer, France, 1998
A French Ozu, Rohmer makes the delicate distinction between late summer and early autumn in the light, the colors, the wind, and the mood of deep delight that permeates this film set in Provence. Magali is a vintner, and autumn is her season, when she can forget the loneliness of being a widow whose children are gone. Isabelle, owner of a bookshop, plans her daughter’s wedding but is far more interested in getting Magali hitched. Unbeknownst to her friend, she places a personal ad in her name—then conducts interviews over wine and lunch. Béatrice Romand, a teenager in Rohmer’s Claire’s Knee (1970), plays Magali, and Marie Rivière, the vagabond of Summer (1986), is Isabelle. Everyone’s grown up, in a film that is as magical and as uncompromising as anything Rohmer ever made.