Get Over It!
Matthew Watters | Vietnam | 03/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite film by one of the greatest (and subtlest) writer/directors in world cinema, and its distressingly mediocre rating from so many reviewers here seems solely due to the American cultural hangup with an older man flirting with younger girls. But the absurdity of such attractions is exactly what this movie is about! The character of Jerome spends the entire film articulately rationalizing away his very real desire for a young girl who disdains him--finally fixating upon a single touch of her knee as a way to expiate any power she seems to hold over him. This film is about a man struggling with his own weakness and his own denial. There is absolutely nothing unseemly in any of Eric Rohmer's handling of this subject, and, indeed, the character of 15-year-old Laura, the girl who is kissed and embraced by the older Jerome, is one of the most knowing and self-possessed characters in the film. Her ultimate snub of Jerome when, too-little-too-late, he comes to appreciate her, is a key to the subtle humiliation to which Rohmer subjects Jerome. This film is a masterful examination of how people can speak one way and *act* another because of the power of their desires, and anyone who finds it offensive in some way should just get over it! Take your cultural baggage somewhere else."
Join the cast
Quilmiense | USA/Spain | 08/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
An Eric Rohmer film is not a typical film by US standards, or by European stardards either. But it's a very interesting piece of entertainment, at least very beautiful to see.
The story in Claire's Knee is very simple, but even if it was more ambitious or complicated it wouldn't be the point. And this is what people miss when they watch Rohmer's films. It's the pace, the background scenery, the natural ambience. It's an invitation to the viewer to join the cast, and feel like one more character, a very attentive and quiet character. And this is truly the magic of Rohmer's beautiful films, specially this one. Among his films, I prefer My Night At Maud's, because it's not only beautiful to the eye, but the story interests me more too.
Claire's Knee is such a delicate and precious work of art for its simplicity, and it really feels like being sucked into the scene by the characters interactions, and becoming more and more involved in the conversations. You can pick your own sides, and most of all, you can study (try to understand) the characters by staring at their faces without being impolite. And you can also just enjoy the beautiful scenery and breathe fresh air from the Alps.
So I recommend it but warn you that it should be viewed without any expectations as for plot or big excitements. Take it as an invitation to join a few friends for a few days in the French Alps during the summer. Get into the European mood and have a nice vacation.
I wish is had a better quality dvd. The other option is the Criterion edition that just came out.
A poor transfer of a delightful film
Quilmiense | 09/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a film, "Claire's Knee" retains its charm and is a pleasure to see every couple of years. I had bought the DVD assuming the image and sound would be superior to the VHS version but was disappointed by the poor quality of the transfer. The image is not sharp and the color, which should be vibrant, is washed out and poorly balanced. Moreover, I was anticipating the film would be presented in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio, but it is full-frame instead. The image looks so flat and lacking in resolution that one could almost suspect that the DVD had been made from a VHS copy. Whatever the source for the transfer was, it's truly a pity Fox Lorber should be satisfied to sell such a mediocre product."
Warm, sensual and beautifully presented
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 07/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The title of this charming film by Eric Rohmer is perhaps too provocative. It really gives the wrong impression, yet Claire's knee is exactly the central point of the film, although in a way that will surprise you.This is the story about a thirty-something year old diplomat, Jerome Montcharvin, who encounters two pretty girls, sixteen and eighteen years old, while on vacation at Lake Annecy in France (near Lake Geneva, Switzerland) a month before his wedding and finds that they affect him more strongly than he might have expected. It is especially Claire who brings out a side of his personality that is seldom exposed, much to the merry interest of his friend, Aurora, a writer, who has guided his interest in the girls, ostensibly as material for a story she is writing. Claire's Knee, it need be said immediately has not so much to do with the pretty girl's knee as it has to do with the protagonist's self-perception. Jean-Claude Brialy, who plays Jerome Montcharvin, brings a veracious mix of smug confidence and little guy vulnerability to the part spiked with a clear case of self-delusion that illuminates his character very well. And the girls are indeed very pretty, with Laura, played with coquettish innocence by Béatrice Romand, also being clever and slyly sophisticated, vulnerable and honest. In contrast Claire, played by Laurence de Monaghan, whose fawn-like beauty is perfect for the part, seems superficial and ordinary and a bit distant. I found myself more attracted to Aurora, played with a gentle and understated irony by Aurora Cornu. She provides the objectifying point of view for us to realize that while Jerome imagines he is a man in touch with his feelings and has an objective understanding of himself, he is really a man who fools himself about his motivation, a man who can be ugly when frustrated, as he is by Claire's lack of interest in him.The dialogue, written by director Eric Rohmer, which some have found excessive is anything but. It is instead clever and witty and at times profound as Rohmer relentlessly explores the nature of love, sex, sensuality and self-delusion. The cinematography of the lake and the French alps in the summer time is luscious, and the privileged, softly indulgent life style of the characters living around the lake provoked a twinge of jealousy in my soul. This is a beautiful film, worldly wise, warm, sensual and subtle as a dinner by candlelight."