For Reel

La Collectionneuse (1967)
December 31, 2015, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Eric Rohmer
3 Stars
La CollectionneuseReleasing his first feature at the age of 47, Eric Rohmer was the oldest of the critics-turned-filmmakers of Cahiers du cinéma. As is typical of his contemporaries in Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Agnes Varda, et al., Rohmer deals with a young generation, however his perspective is uniquely more distant and critical, not fully embracing these characters and instead commenting about their certain narcissism. Patrick Bauchau’s Adrien is a thoroughly loathsome character, his petty hatred for Haydée (Haydée Politoff) suggesting a one-way power struggle. La Collectionneuse begins by introducing Haydée in a fetishistic inventory of her body parts, bringing the viewer into a game of seduction that will go unfulfilled in the narrative. To Adrien, her greatest offense is that she hasn’t fulfilled her end of the seduction bargain. That the film involves a brief sex scene and youthful slang (as well as Adrien’s particular venom) suggests a certain crudity that is largely unfamiliar of Rohmer’s later work, but the film can perhaps be credited with firmly establishing Rohmer’s visual aesthetic, with Néstor Almendros photographing Rohmer’s first film in color. The film’s stagings might have been due to the budgetary and time constraints, but in the limited camera movements, long takes, and the lingering shots on brightly-clothed actors framed amongst greenery and wildflowers, La Collectionneuse sets the example for Rohmer’s career to be.

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