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The ashtrays worry me

Emilie Bickerton: Eric Rohmer, 19 March 2015

Eric RohmerBiographie 
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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... Eric Rohmer​ never left things to chance, but he did make use of the unexpected. It’s a paradox we find a lot in his films, and something he practised daily in the double life he lived for more than seventy years. In his film-making he demanded exhaustive preparation and absolute precision: he recorded countless sunsets disappearing into the sea in the hope of capturing one elusive green ray; he planted flowers so that a month later an actor could pick a rose; he posted mail to a false address to check a plot point that rested on a letter not reaching its destination ...

German Jew

Michael Irwin, 17 April 1980

The Missing Years 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 281 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 297 77707 6
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Jack be nimble 
by Nigel Williams.
Secker, 213 pp., £5.50, March 1980, 0 436 57155 2
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Identity Papers 
by Anthony Cronin.
Co-op Books, 194 pp., £4.50, February 1980, 0 905441 23 0
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Narrow Rooms 
by James Purdy.
Black Sheep Books, 185 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 906538 60 2
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Six Moral Tales 
by Eric Rohmer, translated by Sabine d’Estrée.
Lorrimer, 252 pp., £4.95, February 1980, 0 85647 075 9
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... own right that their figurative potential, such as it is, hardly seems worth bothering about. Eric Rohmer is of course well-known as a film director, but apparently he prefers to sketch out his work in literary form as a first stage. His Six Moral Tales preceded the films that we associate with their titles, which include ‘Claire’s Knee’, ‘My ...

Who takes the train?

Michael Wood, 8 February 1990

by François Truffaut, edited by Gilles Jocob, Claude de Givray and Gilbert Adair.
Faber, 589 pp., £17.50, November 1989, 0 571 14121 8
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... Jean-Louis Bory, a novelist and film critic who had suggested that ‘Truffaut, Chabrol, Demy and Rohmer have sold out to the system.’ The letter is a miniature autobiography, and makes clear that Truffaut’s independence as a filmmaker was hard-won and continuing, that the only ‘system’ he served was that of getting particular movies made and ...

Train Loads of Ammunition

Philip Horne, 1 August 1985

Immoral Memories 
by Sergei Eisenstein, translated by Herbert Marshall.
Peter Owen, 292 pp., £20, June 1985, 0 7206 0650 0
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A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema: 1930-1980 
by Robert Ray.
Princeton, 409 pp., £48.50, June 1985, 0 691 04727 8
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by David Thomson.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 52014 1
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Cahiers du Cinéma. Vol. I: The 1950s. Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave 
edited by Jim Hillier.
Routledge with the British Film Institute, 312 pp., £16.95, March 1985, 0 7100 9620 8
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... on to make the films of François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer. Their polemical stance as critics (with the exception of their brilliant mentor, the metaphysically-inclined André Bazin) was an attempt, ultimately successful, to create the taste by which their works as practitioners were to be relished; as ...

In Paris

Fatema Ahmed: Yves Saint Laurent aux musées, 24 March 2022

... As so often with his pictures, it’s the background that pulls it all together, something Éric Rohmer noticed when he put a poster of La Blouse roumaine on the wall of his heroine’s bedroom in Pauline at the Beach, to pick out the red of a rubber ring. By comparison, the headless, limbless YSL mannequin, fixed to a plinth by a single pole, seems ...

Oliver’s Riffs

Charles Nicholl, 25 July 1991

Talking It Over 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 288 pp., £13.99, July 1991, 0 224 03157 0
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... French-cinema allusion is apt for the book. It is not quite Truffaut, but it is certainly rather Eric Rohmer: another punctilious anatomy of the middle-class heart and its vagaries. The three characters are drawn with the fine nib we have come to expect from Barnes. There is Stuart, the practical, bovine, smart-casual young banker: ‘all that’s ...

In the Library

Inigo Thomas, 25 April 2013

... at the British Library, and it’s only every now and then that it has a passing resemblance to an Eric Rohmer suburb where everyone seems to know everyone else and there’s trouble ahead because they do. It is early April, university Easter holiday time, which coincides with the writing of dissertations and exam revision: the reading rooms and the halls ...

As If

Jonathan Romney: ‘Cahiers du cinéma’, 9 September 2010

A Short History of ‘Cahiers du cinéma’ 
by Emilie Bickerton.
Verso, 156 pp., £12.99, March 2010, 978 1 84467 232 5
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... Godard, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol and Maurice Schérer, later known by his pseudonym, Eric Rohmer. By and large, unlike their counterparts on the left-wing journal Positif, the early Cahiers writers were either effectively on the right, like Rohmer, or essentially apolitical in their preoccupation with ...


Robert Tashman, 9 March 1995

directed by Robert Altman.
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... handling in Prêt-à-Porter is more mellow and assured. Although Short Cuts showed that he is no Eric Rohmer in maintaining interest in numerous scenes that have two or three characters, he is very good at managing large groups of performers and in Prêt-à-Porter he constructs elegant and richly textured Night Watch-like tableaux out of light, bustle ...


Perry Anderson: Forget about Paris, 23 January 2014

... Besançon and Rouen. In the 20th century, cinema has relayed the tradition. The extreme example is Eric Rohmer, whose Comédies et proverbes and Contes des quatre saisons include settings in Clermont-Ferrand, Annecy, Le Mans, Biarritz, Cergy-Pontoise, Nevers, St Malo. The list, like that of Impressionist paintings a century earlier, leans towards ...

‘His eyes were literally on fire’

David Trotter: Fu Manchu, 5 March 2015

The Yellow Peril: Dr Fu Manchu & the Rise of Chinaphobia 
by Christopher Frayling.
Thames and Hudson, 360 pp., £24.95, October 2014, 978 0 500 25207 9
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... to pose a greater threat to national security than terrorism. In May 2014, the attorney general, Eric Holder, announced that criminal charges had been laid against five Chinese military officials accused of hacking into US companies in order to gain trade secrets. In October 2014, as President Obama was preparing to make a state visit to China, a coalition ...

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