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The ashtrays worry me

Emilie Bickerton: Eric Rohmer

19 March 2015
Eric Rohmer: Biographie 
by Antoine de Baecque and Noël Herpe.
Stock, 605 pp., €29, January 2014, 978 2 234 07561 0
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Friponnes de​ porcelaine 
by Eric Rohmer.
Stock, 304 pp., €20, January 2014, 978 2 234 07631 0
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... The ashtrays worry me a lot more than you do.’ The genius and the strangeness of Rohmer’s working method is now documented in a biography – the first – by the French film historians AntoinedeBaecque and Noël Herpe. Compared to his New Wave comrades, Rohmer’s work has never been especially cool or iconic, yet more than François Truffaut’s or Jean-Luc Godard’s it divide...

Who does that for anyone?

Adam Shatz: Jean-Pierre Melville

20 June 2019
Jean-Pierre Melville: Le Solitaire 
by Bertrand Teissier.
Fayard, 272 pp., €22, October 2017, 978 2 213 70573 6
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Jean-Pierre Melville, une vie 
by Antoine de Baecque.
Seuil, 244 pp., €32, October 2017, 978 2 02 137107 9
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... in the 71st artillery regiment in Fontainebleau, arrived in London. Grumbach, an Alsatian Jew from Paris, 25 years old, wanted to offer his services to the Forces Françaises Combattantes (FFC) – de Gaulle’s Free French. His journey had begun seven months earlier in Marseille, where he had distributed pamphlets for the Resistance under cover of his work in the textile trade. After crossing ...

Fatal Non-Readers

Hilary Mantel: Marie-Antoinette

30 September 1999
The Wicked Queen: The Origins of the Myth of Marie-Antoinette 
by Chantal Thomas, translated by Julie Rose.
Zone, 255 pp., £17.95, June 1999, 0 942299 39 6
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... cup of coffee came a catalogue of samples from her wardrobe. Though the fashions of the Court were widely studied in the outside world, there were aspects of them that could never be emulated. Madame de la Tour du Pin spoke in her memoirs of the strange gliding walk that the ladies of Versailles developed to prevent them from treading on each others’ trains. Rouge, also, had a peculiar function as ...

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