The last of Rohmer’s Comedies and Proverbs is perhaps his lightest and most economic, and feels like an assimilation of many of the previous films. The mismatched, four-way boyfriend/girlfriend pairings recalls Pauline at the Beach. Blanche, the lonely protagonist, recalls Delphine from The Green Ray (as does the emotional episode in the forest), while Lea, the (over)-confident friend she meets, recalls Sabine from A Good Marriage. The theme of characters preferring different recreational activities recalls Full Moon of Paris, and the theme of loyalty of The Aviator’s Wife runs through this film.
Perhaps the most unique element in this film is the setting, a trendy new town near Paris, which is constantly being commented on. Being situated halfway between the big city and the country seems to echo Blanche’s life-in-limbo. Professionally she’s well-adjusted to the demands of city life, but emotionally she’s a bit too naïve to play Lea’s games, still indulging in child-like fantasies about her perfect lover. So much so that it blinds her to realizing that she’s perfectly suited to Lea’s boyfriend, Fabien, the same way Lea is better suited to the playboy Blanche has her eye on, Alexandre. As is usual in Rohmer, the “comedy” comes from the disjunction of the characters’ fantasies/beliefs and how reality constantly frustrated them.
Still, I don’t think there’s much here that wasn’t done better in the previous films. Though the performances are excellent, both Emmanuelle Chaulet as Blanche and Sophie Renoir are two of Rohmer’s most naturally attractive and likable actors, the characters seem shallower compared to his previous heroines. Perhaps most interesting is Rohmer’s blatant visual symbolism. The blue/green contrasting of Lea and Blanche:
Blanche name literally means “white” and we see this in her virginally white apartment and undergarments. When Fabien puts on a blue jacket, so Blanche puts on a blue robe, suggesting lovers are put on and taken off like fashion accessories:
Later, when both Lea and Blanche are linked with Fabien, they both wear opposite blue and white top/bottoms:
Finally, Rohmer gives us the complementary pairing at the end:
One can argue that this is a bit too cutesy, and perhaps it could've done with a bit more subtlety, but it hints at Rohmer's cinematic artistry that often gets overlooked in his deluge of dialogue.
My rating: 6.5/10
Written by - Eva_Yojimbo - 11/07/2016