Douban and Xiaohongshu both love directors, how did Rohmer become Rohmer?

Eric Rohmer may not be the most famous name in the French New Wave film movement, but he is the film director who adheres to the “New Wave aesthetics” for the longest time in the French New Wave. When Truffaut and Rivett went commercial, and Godard got into the attic of experimental films and stayed behind closed doors, Rohmer has always maintained his own unique classical temperament in his sixty-year creative career:

On the one hand, he inherited Bazin’s realistic film view, developed it into a unique pursuit of “morality” in film practice, and took the emotional life of French young men and women as the object of analysis;

On the other hand, he followed the many technical means of the “New Wave” for the purpose of reproducing reality, and insisted on small and medium-cost production throughout his life. Long shots, natural light, simultaneous recording technology… These aesthetic methods are well used by him in film creation.

In addition, Rohmer has deeply explored the function of character dialogue, making it an important means of expressing ideas in film works and expanding the depth of film expression.

Director Eric Rohmer

The reason why Rohmer’s films present such an appearance is not unrelated to his deeply influenced art. The artistic nutrients he absorbed included Sartre’s philosophy, Balzac’s novels, Rossellini’s films, Beethoven’s music, and the plot construction of traditional dramas, etc. Therefore, for Rohmer, his film aesthetics full of personality cannot be separated from the perennial and multi-faceted influence of many artistic works. Looking at all his works, you will find that some of his films are close to a certain artistic feeling as a whole. For example, his love for German theater deeply influenced his film set and photography style; his love for Beethoven made him He has been trying to explore the commonality between his music and film language; his love for “fauvism” painting style has influenced his film color matching and so on.

Among the many arts, literature and film have the most direct influence on his image style and creative concept. What this article wants to explore is how the writers and directors Rohmer admired play a role in his film creation. Makes his films finally appear as we see them.

“Green Light” crew, Rohmer and actors

After the clamor of the film market has returned to calm, and everyone is now fanatically worshiping technology, we mention Rohmer again, sort out the path he has traveled, and trace back why he became him. A look back at the movie.


Before becoming a director, Rohmer tried writing novels. His first novel “Elizabeth’s Cabin” did not achieve the desired success, which declared Rohmer’s failure as a commercial novelist. But he has never been far away from literature all his life. For Rohmer, literature is even the foundation of film.

He once admitted that his literary talent is not high, and part of his film ideals are the transplantation of literary ideals. The “Moral Stories” series was adapted from the six short stories he wrote in his early years. At that time, these novels did not receive much attention. Therefore, Rohmer reproduced the stories in the form of movies after he became a director.

Rohmer “Female Collector” screenshot

According to Rohmer’s interviews and articles during his lifetime, it can be concluded that his creation was deeply influenced by Balzac, Victor Hugo, Proust, Dostoevsky and other writers. They are different, but generally belong to the type of line-drawing writing, philosophical themes, and good at analyzing the psychology of characters. Among them, Balzac’s influence is the most prominent.

In an interview with Jean Narbonne, he asked Rohmer whether the people in his films who always judged themselves, always explained his behavior professionally and insightfully, reflected his understanding of psychology. Preferences for shaping and language games. Rohmer replied that this style showed his Balzac side:

“In Balzac’s novels, the dialogue has content. The novel of the 20th century has dialogue but no content. The meaning exists between the lines. People say very flat words and there is no psychological shaping anymore. But we cannot trust the performance of these tasks .”

“Autumn Story” stills

Influenced by Balzac, in Rohmer’s films there are always some details of life that have nothing to do with the development of the plot, such as the girl’s slipped shoulder strap, the hair ball on the sweater, the arrangement of the tableware on the table, etc. These details of life are arranged In the development of a coherent plot, it is like punctuation marks that space out the rhythm one by one, which brings interest to the movie and at the same time brings the real texture of the movie.

In addition, Balzac’s characters are always in a state of reasoning and reasoning, and their speeches have profound philosophical thoughts. This is also directly reflected in the presentation of the characters in Rohmer’s films. The characters in all his films are self-focused. Rohmer successfully brings complex philosophical thinking into daily conversations. In “A Night at Maud’s House”, a 40-minute dialogue is used Two religious concepts are presented.

Stills of “One Night at Maud’s House”

Secondly, Rohmer also borrowed from Balzac’s traditional novel mode, opposing the city and the country, showing multiple locations and atmospheres in the same film, thinking about the coexistence of the country and the city, such as the film “Two Girls” Romance” and “Autumn Story” use the living conditions of two women who live in the countryside and the city respectively to reflect the reality of the opposition between urban and rural areas.

Beyond that, Balzac’s novels are rooted in the interior of Paris. In Rohmer’s films, from “Leo Constellation” to “A Man in Paris”, the creative career spanning thirty years reflects this well-Rohmer wrote about the city of Paris from different angles appearance.

Screenshot of “Girlfriend’s Boyfriend”

.The Influence of Realistic Directors

As a filmmaker as a fan, the fact that Rohmer was greatly influenced by other filmmakers is almost inevitable.

Filmmakers in the New Wave period were very keen to pay tribute to their film predecessors in their films, and took the trouble to express their admiration for some film masters. Rohmer also did not hesitate to talk about his views on some film directors and film works. In his collection of essays “The Taste of Beauty”, Rohmer highly praised such directors as Jean Renoir, Robert Bresson, and Robert Rossellini.

Most of these directors pay attention to social reality, love the minimalist style, and pursue realism, all of which have more or less penetrated into Rohmer’s own creation.

Jean Renoir, The Grand Illusion

Renoir’s influence on Rohmer is first reflected in the unique performance of reality. Bazin pointed out in the book “Jean Renoir”: “Realism is regarded as a criterion for judging the quality of a film … only when it creates complementary meanings and thus generates abstract meanings. value.”

In Bazin’s view, a good movie should not only be based on reality, but also create some abstract meanings based on reality. This is perfectly presented in Renoir’s films. In films such as “Great Illusion”, “Tony” and “Clothed Beast”, Re Noir combined the cold reality with romantic poetry to create a unique style. His realism was classified as “poetic realism style” by later generations.

Comparing Rohmer’s films, although Rohmer’s focus is always on the typical French small bourgeois class, the style of “sharing the real and the poetic” has influenced his creation. In “Leo Constellation”, the sad artist wandering the streets, the chance of fate, the depiction of the character’s psychology, and the dreamy ending all have elements of poetic realism.

However, in Rohmer’s later creations, the “reality” gradually weakened, and the “poetic” became more intense. The love of the middle class filled the screen, and his style was truly established.

Rohmer “Love in the Afternoon” screenshot

Rossellini’s influence on Rohmer may have been more direct than that of Jean Renoir.

Rohmer once said in an article that “Love on the Edge of the Volcano” brought him a strong spiritual shock: “In today’s works, I seldom see a film that praises the love of God so perfectly and directly. …Probably among all the art categories today, only film can achieve a sublime aesthetic level.”

This movie was a turning point for him to change his concept. He once said excitedly: “During the screening of “Love on the Edge of Volcano”, Rossellini took me out of existentialism. The limitations of special realism. The film allows me to see the world with a realistic eye…it is my road to Damascus, and I changed my world view in the process of watching the film.”

The reason why Rohmer loves “Love on the Edge of the Volcano” so much is because he believes that this film achieves a perfect fusion of reality and metaphor – the film uses the environment to map the inner state of the characters and stitches the inner state of the characters with post-war Italy , Rossellini’s philosophical thinking on history, war, marriage and the living conditions of all human beings surges under the surface of realism.

Rossellini’s Love on the Edge of the Volcano

Speaking of Rossellini, as the leader of Italian neorealist films, his new interpretation of realism has influenced the development of film history. Rossellini is good at combining the real and the symbolic, and skillfully borrows real and natural images to write the inner world of the characters. In “Visit Italy”, the marriage between the wife and the husband played by Ingmar Bergman has cracks , but the two reconciled in the face of the corpses of the husband and wife dug up in Pompeii. Here, the corpses are real in history and realistic, but they are also symbols of the opposition between “life and death” and are ideographic.

Comparing with the creation of Biao Rohmer, Rohmer has also used realistic materials many times to express ideas.

In “Green Light”, Delphine yearns for intimacy, but is always out of tune with her surroundings. During a walk together, she overhears a passer-by talking about the legend about the green light: “People who see the green light will understand themselves, understand others.” At the end of the film, Rohmer used documentary techniques to capture the scene of the green light appearing, symbolizing that a green light rose in Delphine’s heart.

“Green Light” in “Green Light”

In addition, another influence of Rossellini on Rohmer is reflected in his interest in moral subjects.

Rossellini once said: “My personal ‘new realism’ is nothing more than a moral standpoint of my own.” Therefore, he put moral factors into the film, including politics, war, love, history, etc. and other multidimensional morality.

On the whole, Rossini’s morality refers more to humanitarianism from a grand perspective, and when reflected in Rohmer’s films, it is written as an erotic morality from a microscopic perspective. In contrast, Rossellini’s morality is oriented towards human society, while Rohmer’s morality explores love relationships. However, this has nothing to do with high or low, it only belongs to the director’s personal interest.

Besides Jean Renoir and Rossellini, Bresson is also one of Rohmer’s favorite directors. Bresson is a representative director of the minimalist film style. In his opinion, the form and content of the film should be subtracted to the greatest extent, eliminating all unnecessary elements, and finally only retaining the core body, with the most restrained The method of expression contains profound thoughts. This has deeply influenced Rohmer’s shooting techniques. He strives to condense the relationship between characters and plot development in a single scene, following the minimalist aesthetic concept of “less is more”.

Stills of Bresson’s “Pickpockets”

But Rohmer did not completely reproduce Bresson’s minimalist concept into his own film, but while using the lens language and scenes refinedly, he retained the aura of the actors and gave full play to the role of the lines.

Finally, I have to say that the style of a director is caused by many factors, and it is not comprehensive to single out a few representative figures in literature and film.

Therefore, Balzac in literature and Rossinelli and Bresson in film are just one of the factors in the general direction. To fully understand the causes of Rohmer’s creative style, we need to learn from his life Start with experience, personal character, multi-dimensional art and ideas.

However, grasping the source of his creative motivation in general is like climbing a small boat in the vast sea, which leads us to find the exit and arrive at the mysterious island of this great director.

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