'This is a cinema of visual understatement and, admittedly, verbal excess, where actors must scrupulously adhere to a text that determines their character’s very being. Je parle, donc je suis: I speak, therefore I am, such is their motto. Rohmer takes to the letter the ‘talking picture’, making conversation the dominant form of screen action. But there is always more to Rohmer film than meets the ear. Endings favour ambiguity over closure, asking spectators to revisit the narrative the better to expose characters’ hidden motives and conflicting points of view [...]. And despite their straightforward linear design, these fictions are not without what Bonitzer calls their ‘secret compartments’, their enigmas and their false trails [...]. Like Hitchcock’s narratives, whose influence they bear, they can aspire to chiselled artistic perfection even as they invite us to contemplate the exterior, world-bound beauty which it is, in Rohmer’s theologically inflected view, cinema’s privilege alone to capture. ‘A humbly documentary presentation of reality inevitably reveals an inherent order, which speaks of God’, writes to this effect Colin Crisp [...].'

Derek Schilling, Eric Rohmer, publisher: Manchester University Press

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