Thursday, September 3, 2015

Film Capsule: Éric Rohmer's The Marquise of O... (1976)

The Marquise of O… (1976)
Directed by Eric Rohmer

This exquisite mid-70s German production, the first of three successive period films by the late French New Wave sophisticate, is at once the most regal and least arch of the director’s theatrically mounted trilogy. Proceeding from the announcement of the widowed title character’s (Edith Clever) unexpected pregnancy, the film unfolds through a procession of meticulously staged, largely interior tableaux, wherein the family of the expectant mother deliberate on the social and moral codes precipitated by their beloved’s potentially wanton behavior. While they surmise everything from illness to immaculate conception, a dashing count (Bruno Ganz) steps forward to offer his hand in marriage, the continued refusal of which prompts an emotional and spiritual reckoning within the Marquise, whose destiny is ultimately summoned through obligations outside her own control. While Rohmer’s style, at once densely detailed and starkly artificial, knowingly accentuates the chamber aspects of the drama, it’s his attention to the emotional dimensions of the material which renders this one of his most powerful character studies. (August 28-September 3, showtimes daily, as the headliner of BAM’s “Period Rohmer”) [BKMag]

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