Monday, January 11, 2010

Éric Rohmer: 1920-2010

This afternoon comes the very sad news of director Éric Rohmer's passing at age eighty-nine. Though I will leave it to others to recount in full the director's remarkable career as a teacher, novelist, film critic, magazine editor and finally filmmaker, I feel it absolutely necessary to express my sorrow at the director's passing. No filmmaker's work has meant more to me personally in the dozen or so years since I first became interested in cinema as an art form, nor have I been inspired as much by any other artist as I have been by Rohmer. For me, he was and is not only the greatest director of the French New Wave, but one of the finest filmmakers to ever live, standing beside the heroes of his own younger years Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, F. W. Murnau and Jean Renoir.

Most remarkable of all, for this writer, was his unblemished record as a feature filmmaker: he is the only director I can think of who never once, over so sizable a corpus, even remotely faltered. It was in celebration of this remarkable body of work that I named my ten best Rohmer films last summer (in addition to ten more runners up). Also available on this site are my long-form essay, Face & Form in Rohmer: From Ma nuit chez Maud’s Talking Cinema to the Denial of Eloquence in Le Rayon vert, featuring the director's two greatest films (in this writer's opinion), and my review of Rohmer's masterful final directorial effort, The Romance of Astree and Celadon (2007). Indeed it is in this latter film that we find an epitaph truly fitting for Rohmer: as Astree says to her lover "live, live, Celadon," so might we respond "live, live, Rohmer!"

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mike--I saw the bad news and immediately thought of you. Thanks for introducing me to Rohmer's films back in college. Bob Klevay

Michael J. Anderson said...

Bob, it is great to hear from you as always. I was very proud to show his films on campus (shortly after discovering them myself).

peter said...

Michael, perhaps the memory and spirit of the great director of such beautiful films as La collectionneuse, Le genou de Clair and Conte d'été is best evoked in this lovely short video of the eternally youthful Eric on the dance floor:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x13drj_eric-rohmer-on-the-dance-floor

Michael J. Anderson said...

Peter, thank you, that is a fabulous video!