9.30.2010

QUICKIE: La boulangère de Monceau (Éric Rohmer, 1963)

Éric, you really got me now. You got me so I don't know... how long your movies are? La boulangère de Monceau is in many ways a practical joke on its protagonist - a very funny one, at that. Inadvertently, though, Rohmer has pulled a very similar joke on me. See, relatively fresh off varying levels of admiration for the moral tales' latter installments, I made the obvious decision to explore the formers under the presumption they, too, were feature length. I have a habit, you see, of avoiding promotional descriptions in hopes of preserving an element of surprise. In this case I also wound up avoiding the fact that La boulangère is actually a short film. I delayed and delayed, wanting to have a proper chunk of evening time carved out for maximum appreciation potential. A week of dancing around passed before that time struck. I had at least two hours to relax, let cinematic morality wash over me and-- wait, is it really over already? I couldn't help laughing at myself. Still can't.

As occurred with both La collectionneuse and with resounding power on multiple viewings of L'amour, l'aprés-midi (and to a slightly lesser extent with Le genou de Claire), I was swept up in Rohmer's decidedly objective view of his protagonist. This young man seems a compound of specific qualities Rohmer would later explore in the aforementioned films. He acts entitled, behaves imposingly, falls prey to his own impatient impulses and is just as self-absorbed as any of his successors. We find him strolling a Paris street day after day, hoping to bump into Sylvie, a woman he regularly sees and has become attracted to. When she doesn't appear for some time, he enacts private revenge by flirting with a local bakery clerk. Once one course to romance is in motion, however, it becomes punctuated by a hilariously appropriate revelation.

Basically, in my own selfish story, La boulangère de Monceau is my Sylvie. I suppose all the horror movies I've been watching while strolling the streets of Netflix Instant Watch have been my bakery clerks. Don't get me wrong - I have not complaint for the excellent film's length. I just have this ironic tale.

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