Chabrol and Rohmer Keep Doing What They Do Best

Two French masters, still catching the wave

Togas and off-shoulder tunics aside, Rohmer makes no particular effort to periodize this tale of star-crossed love. On the contrary: Although his Gallic pagans present themselves as crypto-Christian (and their halls are incongruously graced with Renaissance paintings), Astrea and Celadon is far less stylized than previous Rohmer costume films, like Perceval or The Lady and the Duke. This open-air talkathon—in which a simple misunderstanding compounded by the literalist interpretation of a single sentence serves to sunder doting shepherd and adoring shepherdess—is of a piece with the rest of his work. As always in Rohmer, seeing is not believing and mistaken identity is a given.

The weather girl and the fop: Ludivine Sagnier and Benoît Magimel
IFC Films
The weather girl and the fop: Ludivine Sagnier and Benoît Magimel

Details

A Girl Cut in Two
Directed by Claude Chabrol
IFC Films
Opens August 15, IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza
The Romance of Astrea and Celadon
Directed by Eric Rohmer
Koch Lorber Films
August 14 through 20, Anthology Film Archives

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Throughout human history, Rohmer suggests, attractive young people and the occasional interested elder (in this case a druid priest) have discussed at length the nature of love, truth, and fidelity. The movie's gravity has the effect of raising Rohmer's career-long concerns to cosmic heights.

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