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Six Moral Tales by Eric Rohmer (Criterion Collection) (1963-2006)

Director: Eric Rohmer
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Criterion Collection, Drama, Foreign, France, French New Wave
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

The Bakery Girl of Monceau (Criterion Collection) (1963)
Simple, delicate, and jazzy, the first of the Moral Tales shows the stirrings of what would become the Eric Rohmer style: unfussy naturalistic shooting, ironic first person voice-over, and the image of the "unknowable" woman. A law student (played by future director Barbet Schroeder) with a roving eye and a large appetite stuffs himself full of sugar cookies and pastries daily in order to garner the attentions of the pretty brunette who works in a quaint Paris bakery. But is he truly interested, or is she just a sweet diversion?

Claire's Knee (Criterion Collection) (1970)
'Why would I tie myself to one woman, if I were interested in others?" says Jerome, even as he plans on marrying a diplomat's daughter by summer's end. Before then, Jerome spends his July at a lakeside boarding house nursing crushes on the sixteen-year-old Laura, and, more tantalizingly, Laura's long-legged, blonde stepsister, Claire. Baring her knee on a ladder under a blooming cherry tree, Claire unwittingly instigates Jerome's moral crisis and creates both one of French cinema's most enduring moments and what has become the iconic image of Rohmer's Moral Tales.

La Collectionneuse (Criterion Collection) (1967)
A bombastic, womanizing art dealer and his painter friend go to a seventeenth-century villa on the Riviera for a relaxing summer getaway. But their idyll is disturbed by the presence of the bohemian Haydée, accused of being a "collector" of men. Rohmer's first color film, La collectionneuse pushes the Moral Tales into new, darker realms. Yet it is also a grand showcase for the clever and delectably ironic battle-of-the-sexes repartée (in a witty script written by Rohmer and the three main actors) and luscious, effortless Néstor Almendros photography that would define the remainder of the series.

Love in the Afternoon (Chloe in the Afternoon) (Criterion Collection) (1972)
Though happily married to his adoring wife Hélène, with whom he is expecting a second child, the thoroughly bourgeois business executive Frédéric cannot banish from his mind the multitudes of attractive Parisian women who pass him by every day. His flirtations and fantasies remain harmless, until Chloe (played by the mesmerizing Zouzou), an audacious, unencumbered old flame, shows up at his office, embodying the first genuine threat to Frédéric's marriage. The luminous final chapter to Rohmer's Moral Tales is a tender, sobering, and wholly adult affair that leads to perhaps the most overwhelmingly emotional moment in the entire series.

My Night at Maud's (Criterion Collection) (2006)
In the brilliantly accomplished centerpiece of Rohmers Moral Tales series, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Jean-Louis, one of the great conflicted figures of sixties cinema. A pious Catholic engineer in his early thirties, he lives by a strict moral code in order to rationalize his world, drowning himself in mathematics and the philosophy of Pascal. After spotting the delicate, blonde Françoise at Mass, he vows to make her his wife, although when he unwittingly spends the night at the apartment of the bold, brunette divorcée Maud, his rigid ethical standards are challenged. A breakout hit in the United States, My Night at Mauds was one of the most influential and talked-about films of the decade.

Six Moral Tales by Eric Rohmer (Criterion Collection) (2006)
The multifaceted, deeply personal dramatic universe of Eric Rohmer has had an effect on cinema unlike any other. One of the founding critics of the history-making Cahiers du cinéma, Rohmer began translating his written manifestos to film in the sixties, standing apart from his new-wave contemporaries, like François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, with his patented brand of gently existential, hyperarticulate character studies set against vivid seasonal landscapes. This near genre unto itself was established with his audacious and wildly influential series Six Moral Tales. A succession of jousts between fragile men and the women who tempt them, the Six Moral Tales unleashed onto the film world a new voice, one that was at once sexy, philosophical, modern, daring, nonjudgmental, and liberating.

Suzanne's Career (Criterion Collection) (1963)
Bertrand bides his time in a casually hostile and envious friendship with college chum Guillaume. But when ladies' man Guillaume seems to be making a play for the spirited, independent Suzanne, Bertrand watches bitterly with disapproval and jealousy. With its ragged black-and-white 16mm photography and strong sense of 1960s Paris, Rohmer's second Moral Tale is a wonderfully evocative portrait of youthful naiveté and the complicated bonds of friendship and romance.

GreenCine Member Ratings

The Bakery Girl of Monceau (Criterion Collection) (1963)
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6.89 (18 votes)
Claire's Knee (Criterion Collection) (1970)
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7.37 (27 votes)
La Collectionneuse (Criterion Collection) (1967)
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7.42 (19 votes)
Love in the Afternoon (Chloe in the Afternoon) (Criterion Collection) (1972)
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7.44 (18 votes)
My Night at Maud's (Criterion Collection) (2006)
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7.47 (17 votes)
Six Moral Tales by Eric Rohmer (Criterion Collection) (2006)
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7.38 (8 votes)
Suzanne's Career (Criterion Collection) (1963)
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6.17 (12 votes)

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