Eric Rohmer and The Future Of Hope Lies.
2015 marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Eric Rohmer, and to mark the occasion the British Film Institute are hosting a season celebrating the filmmakers work.
The season is headed up by The Green Ray, which is being given an extended run (and one that will hopefully spread further than the BFI Southbank, and around the UK), while much of the director’s early work plays a part in the January line-up, while plans for February and March have yet to be revealed. A Summer’s Tale received a high profile belated release in the US last year, so it’s safe to assume that that film will play a big part in the coming months. Alongside the screening of features sits a strand dedicated to the director’s television documentaries, which more often than not stand as fascinating companion pieces to specific films in the director’s oeuvre (a 4-part series on architecture entitled Ville nouvelle, on the changing landscape of out-of-town housing solutions makes for the perfect double-bill with the New Town-set L’Ami de mon amie, for example).
Rohmer’s very particular style, which remained consistent over the course of a career that lasted nigh on six decades, emphasises the moment over the external, the magnified over the magnificent. In recent years it has come back to the fore thanks to an admitted dept of gratitude owed to Rohmer from the likes of Noah Baumbach, whose Frances Ha plays like a grand American homage to Rohmer’s Moral Tales, and Richard Linklater. Rohmer’s influence over the contemporary French cinema is plain to see too, with the Pialat school of modern filmmakers (Arnaud desplechin, Olivier Assayas and co.) who elevated the work of Maurice Pialat above that of the Nouvelle Vague perhaps forgetting Rohmer when rejecting Godard and the others.
For those of thee stuck in the provinces (an apt happenstance given this particular director captured the relationship between lives and the geographical space with which they occupy in a manner quite like no other) there remains Potemkine’s wonderful Blu-ray box-set, which collates Rohmer’s entire body of work, from shorts to features via the aforementioned television specials and recordings of staged shows.
It’s worth noting that September 2015 marks the five year anniversary of Rohmer’s Cahiers Five companion, Claude Chabrol. Might we see a similar celebration from the BFI? One can only hope.
On a related note, and the real reason for the running of this piece of news, Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second returns to it’s roots in 2015, and back to focussing predominantly on French film and Silent Cinema, ala its initial intention for being. While we won’t be shunning non-French or silent cinema in any real sense, we will be tightening up the website’s focus in general. We suspect (and hope!) that this will be a popular decision.
More on the BFI Rohmer season can be found at their website.