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Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales - Criterion Collection
Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales - Criterion Collection
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
PG     2006     8hr 0min

The multifaceted, deeply personal dramatic universe of Eric Rohmer has had an effect on cinema unlike any other. A succession of jousts between fragile men and the women who tempt them, the Six Moral Tales unleashed onto ...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Romantic Comedies, Love & Romance
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/15/2006
Original Release Date: 02/21/1971
Theatrical Release Date: 02/21/1971
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 8hr 0min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 6
SwapaDVD Credits: 6
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 21
Edition: Box set,Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Oh boy!
Thomas Plotkin | West Hartford CT, United States | 08/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Criterion has provided us with the nicest French cinema bonanza since their Antoine Doinel cycle set of a few years ago. These Rohmer chat-fests are a litmus test for cinephiles. American Nouvelle Vague-inspired '60's director Arthur ("Bonnie and Clyde") Penn had mouthpiece Gene Hackman say in Night Moves: "I saw a Rohmer film once. It was like watching paint dry." On the other hand, Rohmer is Quentin Tarantino's favorite director. (Weird as that seems, they share a love of discursive dialog). These movies basically follow a formula -- deeply confused men, snared up in conflicts between flesh and spirit (usually represented by the two women in their lives), work out their confusions through marathon conversations. Like the much-used Henry James analogy, the viewer will either find these moral pilgrimages-though-talk tiresome or transcendant, depending on your attention span. Meantime, stunning cinematography (usually by natural light wizard Nestor Alemndros) pin-points seasonal changes with subtle shadings. These are connisoeur's works, and if you dont know 'em, sample some on Netflix before buying unseen based on reputations. Like Henry James' novels, you either reject 'em out of hand, or else become addicted. This reviewer is an addict, of course."
Criterion's Biggest set yet
Ted | Pennsylvania, USA | 09/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This release is the largest to be released by the Criterion Collection to date. It contains six major films by Eric Rohmer and several short films too. It also contains a novelization of the 6 main films in the release.

Disc 1 contains the film "The Bakery Girl of Monceau" originally released in France as "La Boulangère de Monceau" which is about a man who patronizes a bakery in Paris and befriends a young woman working there. The special features are the short film "Presentation, or Charlotte and Her Steak" "Présentation ou Charlotte et son steak" in French, and "Moral Tales, Filmic Issues" a conversation between Eric Rohmer and Barbet Schroeder.

Disc 2 contains the film "Suzanne's Career" released in France as "La Carrière de Suzanne" which is about two friends who meet a young woman and fall in love with her. The special features are Rohmer's short film "Nadja in Paris" in French as "Nadja à Paris"

Disc 3 contains the film "My Night at Maud's" known in France as "Ma nuit chez Maud" which is about a Cathoic man who falls in love with a woman he meets at Mass and them meet a woman named Maud who he has a long talk with. The special features are a theatrical trailer for the film, "On Pascal" known in France as "Entretien sur Pascal", and an episode of the French program "Télécinéma" featuring interviews with one of the actors and some other people.

Disc 4 contains the film "La Collectionneuse" which is about two friends who go on vacation inthe French Riviera. They share a room with a young woman. The special features are a theatrical trailer Rohmer's short film "A Modern Coed" known in France as "Une étudiante d'aujourd'hui", and an episode of the Canadian television program " Parlons cinema" interviewing Rohmer about the film

Disc 5 contains the film "Claire's Knee" known in France as "Le Genou de Claire" which is about a diplomat who become obsessed with the knee of a teenage girl named Claire. The special features are a theatrical trailer, Rohmer's short film "The Curve" known in France as "La Cambrure" a scene from the French TV program "Le journal du cinéma" with interviews of some of the film's actors.

Disc 6 contains the film "Love in the Afternoon" known in France as "L'Amour l'après-midi" and also known as "Chloe in th Afternoon" which is about a married man who can't take his mind off another woman. The special features are a theatrical trailer Rohmer's short film "Véronique and Her Dunce" known in France as "Véronique et son cancre", and an afterword with Neil LaBute.

This box set is comprehensive and contains many good films."
A Must-Own for Rohmer fans and cinephiles
JPT | Arlington, VA | 09/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First, for those unfamiliar with Rohmer's work, I strongly recommend renting or Netflixing "My Night at Maud's" or "Claire's Knee".

In my personal opinion, everyone should love Rohmer's style, but I will admit, from personal experience, that it may take a couple viewings before you become hooked. Rohmer's style is the epitome of subtlety. You won't find flashy jump cuts, over-the-top sound tracks, or beams of light piercing through a window casting the lead actor in a wash of bright light at the "moment of revelation".

Rohmer's style demands some commitment on the part of viewers--especially those of use who have been raised on standard Hollywood fare. But, oh, that commitment is rewarded hundred-fold once you become accustomed to the intimate style and subtle pacing of Rohmer's movies. He is one of the great masters of cinema.

Now to those who are already familiar with Rohmer's works . . .

I am one of those people who already owns DVD copies of most of Rohmer's films. One of my big gripes through the years has been the off-handed production of these DVD sets. Often it seems the movies have been rushed onto DVD with minimal restoration. Enter Criterion.

The Criterion set of "Six Moral Tales" is well up to their high standards of video and audio restoration. The visual look of these films is quite likely in line with what the original prints must have looked like when these movies first received theatrical release. I understand that Rohmer himself was involved in the restoration, which I'm sure didn't hurt.

In my opinion, the restored films are reason enough to get these sets. However, Criterion makes sure to lavish this box set with a treasure trove of bonuses. In addition to some fine Rohmer short films spanning the director's career, there are also some archival interviews, and other bonuses. The box set also contains a bound copy of the "Six Moral Tales," and a separate booklet which compiles some very good essays about Rohmer's work (including one essay by Rohmer himself).

My only gripe--and it is a greedy one--is that I wish these sets also contained an audio commentary track. I understand that Rohmer has done a "master class" on some of his movies, and it certainly would have been a welcome addition to have some additional background into the making of these films (e.g. decision on casting, reasons for certain shots, and other bits of trivia).

For the price though, this box set offers tremendous value. I recommend the "Moral Tales" box set without hesitation. Now let's hope Criterion offers a similar treatment of Rohmer's later works!"
Essential cinema: Rohmer's 'Contes moraux .'
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 07/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Éric Rohmer (1920) challenged traditional Hollywood cinema with his French New Wave cycle of films, Six Moral Tales ("Contes moraux"). Inspired by F.W. Murnau's Sunrise, each "tale" follows the same basic story: a man is tempted a woman, but he ultimately resists the temptation.

Exploring the fickle nature of youthful desire, the first of the Moral Tales, The Bakery Girl of Monceau (La Boulangère de Monceau) (1963), is a simple, 23-minute black and white film about a law student (Barbet Schroeder) who--while stuffing himself with sugar cookies and pastries daily--hesitates between two women, a pretty brunette bakery girl and an "unknowable" young woman he has only observed from a distance. Schroeder's voice was dubbed by Bertrand Tavernier.

Suzanne's Career (La Carrière de Suzanne) (1963), a 60-minute short film, continues the cycle with the story of a timid student, Bertrand (Philippe Beuzen), who admires a callous older friend, Guillaume, for his lack of selfconciousness, rude manners, and easy ways with women, until they both fall for the same free-spirited girl, Suzanne (Catherine See), turning this tale into an awkward love triangle. (The first two films in the cycle were shot in ragged black-and-white 16mm photography that offers a strong sense of 1960s Paris.)

My Night at Maud's (Ma nuit chez Maud) (1969)--the third tale in the series, but the fourth to be filmed, has been called "the centerpiece" of Rohmer's Moral Tales. Filmed in stark black and white, it follows deep philosophic conversations about love and religion between a pious Catholic engineer in his early thirties, Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant), and a young brunette divorcée, Maud (Françoise Fabian)--a seductive freethinker who challenges Jean-Louis' rigid ethical standards. An Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival, Rohmer achieved international recognition with this brilliant film.

Set in Saint-Tropez, The Collector (La Collectionneuse) (1967), tells the story of two friends, Adrien (Patrick Bauchau) and Daniel (Daniel Pommereulle), who do their best to resist a promiscuous, bohemian girl, Haydée (Haydée Politoff), who is collecting lovers. Rohmer's first color film in the cycle (filmed by Néstor Almendros) ventures into darker moral territory. This film is transcendent.

Claire's Knee (Le Genou de Claire) (1970) tells the story of a career diplomat, Jerôme (Jean-Claude Brialy), who meets a teenager, Laura, and her beautiful, blonde stepsister, Claire, at a lakeside boardinghouse on the eve of his wedding. While Laura flirts with him, Jerôme is tempted only by Claire's knee on a ladder under a blooming cherry tree. This film reveals how conversation can be the best foreplay.

Love in the Afternoon (L'Amour l'après-midi; also known as Chloe in the Afternoon) (1972) tells the story of a young, successful businessman, Frédéric (Bernard Verley). Although he is happily married to his adoring wife Hélène (Françoise Verley), an English professor, bourgeois Frédéric nevertheless fantasizes about his premarital freedom and the excitement of chasing women. His thoughts are filled with the attractive women who pass him on the streets of Paris every day. When an old flame, Chloé (played by the mesmerizing Zouzou), shows up in Frédéric's office, the two begin spending afternoons together talking. (This film again reveals how conversation can be the best foreplay.) Frédéric experiences a connection with Chloé that threatens his marriage. Chloé confesses that while she is not interested in marriage, she would like to have a child with Frédéric, forcing him to choose between a wife that he loves and a woman he feels strangely passionate about. Before consummating his feelings for Chloé, he retreats to his wife, leaving Chloé in bed waiting for him--perhaps the most powerful emotional moment in Rohmer's entire series.

Rich in subtle human insights and absorbing philosophical questions, Rohmer's sublime Moral Tales are among my all-time favorite films. Criterion's luminous set offers a crisp digital transfer of Nestor Almendros' cinematography, a clear soundtrack, and lots of extras.

G. Merritt"