A German Marquise has to deal with a pregnancy she cannot explain and an infatuated Russian Count.
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A German Marquise has to deal with a pregnancy she cannot explain and an infatuated Russian Count.
La marquesa de O
There are many great conservative novelists, but only one great conservative filmmaker. Rohmer's most philosophical film, adapted from Plato’s “Republic” via von Kleist. One of the GREAT German films.
Rohmer takes the innate nebulosity from Kleist's text and shifts it into filmic matter, departing structurally from the same kantian perception dillema - even if the narrative is considerably leaner in this version, its foundations are still carefully built in an intricate, seemingly mathematical approach, using some familiar iconography and gestual tendencies to arrive at a very particular rereading of the world, it's simultaneously alluring and spontaneously assimilated but also somewhat distanced, hard to fully grasp.
There is an underlining comicalness to Rohmer's sattire, he exposes manners and conduct as cultural predicaments of society - but when can all this outdated, deceptively axiomatic predicates be drawn out of their impermanent, dubious condition? Is there anything objective to rely on? When…
“Listen to this, it’s all here word for word.” So begins Éric Rohmer’s first period piece, adapted from an 1808 Heinrich von Kleist novella with such severe fidelity to the text that the director, a late titan of French cinema, taught himself German just to make sure he got it right. And the faithfulness of the telling is crucial, as this version of The Marquise of O is focused on the schism between how the text was written and how it’s now received: It’s an experiment about what happens when a contemporary audience is confronted with an unapologetically outdated tale. (That dynamic makes this film especially ripe for restoration.)
the most beautiful, naturally lit nightmare
Wrote a MUBI piece, excerpted below, which I used as an opportunity to gently, firmly push back against the tendency to view films (or art in general) with blanket woke-ness (though I avoided using that annoying term). One of Rohmer's best, and thus a truly wonderful, miraculous film.
It would be possible to view the film with casual detachment, to use its delicate humor and cool irony as a defense mechanism. One could even go so far as to read the ending—the Count and the Countess in loving embrace—as a sarcastic joke similar to the one that ends Agnès Varda's Le Bonheur, which revisits the film's opening image of familial bliss, but with the man's wife—having been driven to her…
The discipline, care and thoughtfulness that Rohmer puts into his period dramas, altering his work to incorporate narrative conventions and stylistic ones from the time his movies are set in, gives them a depth and a focus that I appreciate much more than the hang-out romcoms that he does in modern dress.
Poor Marquise; her back's against the wall, she's discovering that under patriarchy, not even her own body belongs to her. Have I seen another movie look so seriously at the 'rapist has first dibs' clause that for a long time was included in the Big Book of Rules? "You break it, you bought it" was a thing for centuries (and in some places as recently as the 1940s-50s), even if it's hard for us to wrap our heads around today.
I even like/love/like Rohmer's insistent use of off-white/cream/pale yellow in his compositions. An underutilized color...
The New Years Resolutions - Film #43
Certainly the oddest film I've seen in Rohmer's extensive filmography, but also one the most rewarding.
Very hard to discuss this without spoiling it, but whilst at first I found myself struggling to understand exactly why Rohmer had chosen to explore this obscure period tale, at a certain point it becomes all to clear. As the central conflict of The Marquise of O begins to unravel, our characters find themselves trapped within a complex web of moral contradictions, a situation where what is felt in the heart is deemed impossible by the mind. It's another textbook example of one of Rohmer's central themes; the way in which people must reconcile actions…
Maratona em honra de Bruno Ganz (1941 - 2019) filme #3.
Só porque o Rohmer fez um filme bonito pra caraleo pra me convencer a torcer por um estuprador no final. Patriarcado é uma bosta mesmo.
BlurayRip no Making Off
Troubling viewing; melodrama cooled by a distance between the audience and any character, especially the Marquise, complicating what on paper is a pretty lurid and problematic depiction of rape, one rescued by what feels like satire of the old bourgeois morality.
It's an hypnotic film, with an immaculate but not overbearing attention to period detail that impresses technically, elevated to the next level by the aloof performances. It's also strange how devoid of suspense it actually is - we never really doubt our first guess as to what happened to cause this pregnancy, so it becomes more an exercise in dramatic irony, as well as purer aesthetic pleasures like the otherworldly shots of the Marquise reading in her garden.
Rohmer's idea of a whodunit. After being rescued from an attempted rape by Ganz's Russian count as his forces overrun her citadel in Northern Italy, the marquise of O agonizes over an inexplicable pregnancy and ostracism by her family at their learning of her condition. A regal and airy production in which social mores are exposed for their ironic implications.
For me it always seemed that a wider variety of hidden or overt social rules made for more riveting art, and Rohmer replicates the feeling of, say, Tolstoy, with astonishing precision. My guess is that the period setting is a bit of a buffer, allowing Rohmer to remove himself from 70s France to a time period that provides allows him to explore issues that matter to him with an amount of aesthetic distance. The story itself, of course, is hardly stereotypical 19th-cent sermonizing--it's scandalous, erotic, ridiculous, yet totally engrossing, with an edge to it that is vaguely modern, especially the concluding sentence.
Viewers are invited to engage the topic emotionally before they have to deal with the particulars of the…
I really don’t know how I feel about this.
Que filme lindo lindo lindo Almendros meteu o locão
Éric Rohmer in disguise
While I like the detail of this period piece, the colors, the language, the manners, the relationship between the father and daughter, mother and daughter, daughter and mother; while I like the over all structure of the film; while I am fascinated by the meaning of the film, I dislike the character of the Count from the start (like most anyone else will), and do the film’s hinge is damaged.
"What are your reading habits today?
Usually I read several books at a time—old books, new books, fiction, nonfiction, verse, anything—and when the bedside heap of a dozen volumes or so has dwindled to two or three, which generally happens by the end of one week, I accumulate another pile. There are some varieties of fiction that I never touch—mystery stories, for instance, which I abhor, and historical novels. I also detest the so-called “powerful” novel—full of commonplace obscenities and torrents of dialogue—in fact, when I receive a new novel from a hopeful publisher—“hoping that I like the book as much as he does”—I check first of all how much dialogue there is, and if it looks too abundant or…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Welcome to the past - says Rohmer; but that's only half the story. It's not even half really - since the film is less an invitation to the past than a hypnotist's abduction into it.
For much of The Marquise of O - until the quite harrowing conclusion - the authenticity of the visual and dialogic period detail just feels like expertly judged decor adorning this mysterious romance - not least because it's achieved (in true Rohmer style) without the presentation striving to match the baroque extravagance of its subjects (compare with either the sweeping romantic formulations of The Age of Innocence or the love of scale and horror vacui in Barry Lyndon). Its clear tonal contrast in…
It is becoming increasingly clear that Eric Rohmer, does in fact, own my entire ass.
Also this has got to be his most shocking (for lack of a better word) movie to my 21st century eyes but the fact that Rohmer resists any temptation to moralize, modernize or obviously comment on the events of this story is stunning to me. Part of the trick of this movie is that it sort of acts a mirror to our own sense of morality and judgement. I can see this being interpreted in wildly different ways but ultimately this actually becomes about how we place morality on stories themselves. Coming in with our own framework is what gives this vitality and maybe even purpose.
I'm not sure that made any sense in writing but it makes sense it my head. Anyway, I was left speechless by this one. For whatever reason, I'm just a fucking sucker for "minor" Rohmers.
사람은 사랑이라는 이름으로 다른 이에게 어디까지 할 수 있을까.
사람은 미움이라는 동력으로 다른 이에게 어디까지 갈 수 있는가.
Absolutely loved this. A distanced romance, a novel told like a fairytale. No space for close-ups, if not to briefly revel in someone's inner desires. Beautiful and troubling, impossibly transparent.
It looks nice and bruno ganz the only mofo that can pull off that brown suit 😂
Leaving France, modern times, his own original screenplays, male protagonists and any lingering connection to a ‘new wave,’ but still so much following the current of all that came before it. The period film reduced to his dimensions.
»Du würdest mir damals nicht wie ein Teufel erschienen sein, wenn du mir, bei deiner ersten Erscheinung, nicht wie ein Engel vorgekommen wärst.«
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