AUTUMN TALE (CONTE D'AUTOMNE) Send This Review to a Friend
Few directors can tell a story and examine character with the esprit of Eric Rohmer, one of France's premier directors. His latest is a joy for any season. Twenty-eight years have passed since he delighted us with "Claire's Knee," but his style is as fresh and sparkling as ever. He also stars Beatrice Romand, whom he introduced in "Claire's Knee." Although older now, she has lost none of her charm. In fact, her charm and her talent have grown with maturity.
The film belongs to Rohmer's "Tales of the Four Seasons." And this time, in a lovely South of France setting, he is concerned with the need of Magali, a divorcee (Romand), to find the right man. She doesn't have an easy personality, and she has all but given up, except in her secret hopes. Isabelle, her close friend played by the superb Marie Riviere, is eager to help and unbeknownst to Magali, places a mate-seeking ad in her name. Gerald (Alain Libolt), the man the ad attracts, turns out to be eligible and charming, but it is Isabelle who meets him and pretends to be Magali. Can you predict the complexities?
Our pleasure comes partly from Rohmer's intelligent dialogue and his avoidance of easy cliches in favor of genuine probing of character and human behavior involving desire and denial amid a gamut of insecurities. Other key characters add to the amusement, and just as Shakespeare was adept at disentangling relationships, by the film's end Rohmer sorts everything out in ways that are immensely pleasing.
One rarely encounters films as wonderfully sophisticated as this, unless, of course, it is another by Eric Rohmer. An October Films release.