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A Tale of Springtime

(Conte de printemps)
France 1990. Dir: Eric Rohmer. 108 min. DCP

Eric Rohmer inaugurated Tales of the Four Seasons, a new cycle of his sophisticated moral parables, with this delightful, elegant comedy of manners. A Tale of Springtime is set to the music of Beethoven and Schumann, and unfolds in chic Paris apartments and a Fontainebleau country house. Natasha, an 18-year-old music student, meets Jeanne, a pretty young philosophy teacher, at a party, and decides to manoeuvre her new friend into the arms of her divorced father, whose current mistress Natasha can’t stand. As always in Rohmer, gestures, intonations, and seemingly causal dialogue become the stuff of a remarkably nuanced, novelistic analysis of motives, meaning, and interior moral life. And, à la earlier Rohmer films such as My Night at Maud’s and Claire’s Knee, there’s plenty of delicious philosophizing going on as well. “Radiantly alive ... An essential work from a director who, magically, keeps his vision fresh” (Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times).

 

REVIEWS

“A singular contribution to the cinema of high comedy … It’s a pleasure to watch Mr. Rohmer at work.”

New York Times | full review

“One of Rohmer’s most formally restrained and emotionally unhinged films.”

New Yorker | full review