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Nightcrawler

A perfect engine of corrosive satire, this drama follows the adventures of an amoral cameraman to its logical and unsettling end.

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Horns

There are some clever ideas in the script from Keith Bunin, based on the novel by Joe Hill, but they get mixed up in some…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Life with Rohmer

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In the nearly three days since I learned of Eric Rohmer's death, I've been looking over his filmography, which has stimulated a flood of fond recollections. Few directors have left behind so many enjoyable, stimulating, gorgeous movies -- photographed by none other than Nestor Almendros until the mid-'80s, a beau mariage made in cinema heaven. I was trying to think of a Rohmer film I actively dislike... and I can't. (There are a few I haven't seen, a few I like more than others, a few I don't remember very well...) But a surprising number of them still live among my favorite movie-memories: "Perceval," "Summer"/"The Green Ray," "My Night at Maud's," "The Marquise of O...", "Pauline at the Beach," "Le beau mariage"...

At The Crop Duster, Robert Horton, who was discovering these movies at the same time I was, recalls Rohmer by resurrecting his terrific 1984 piece on "Pauline at the Beach," and by lightly tracing his own life through cinematic encounters with the director's movies in an entry he calls "A Rohmer Datebook."

First, a swell mini-overview from the former:

Rohmer has been on a hot streak lately. Keep in mind he was a slow starter compared to some of his friends in the French New Wave. Rohmer made short films during the 1950s, and he was editor-in-chief of Cahiers du Cinema, the magazine in which Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol et al. vented their auteurist spleens, from 1957 to 1963. Those other fellows had already collected an armful of international awards by the time Rohmer completed his first widely-recognized feature, "La collectioneuse," in 1967 (though he had been directing for some time already). That film was part of his contes moraux--Moral Tales--and the next entry, "Ma nuit chez Maud" ("My Night at Maud's," 1968), brought him shoulder to shoulder with the world's leading filmmakers. After he finished the Moral Tales, Rohmer took time out to pursue projects with settings completely different from the palpably modern landscapes of the six Moral Tales; predictably enough, "The Marquise of O..." (1976) and "Perceval le Gallois" (1978) were two of the best and most intriguing works of the decade.

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