(1990)3.5Wheeler Winston DixonOne of Eric Rohmer's most mysteriously complex films, A Tale of Springtime chronicles the misadventures of a group of rather self-absorbed yet circumspect characters who exchange friendships and allegiances in a delightful and complicated game of hearts. Natacha (Florence Darel) and Jeanne (Anne Teyssedre) meet at a party, and strike up an almost immediate rapport. Jeanne needs a place to sleep, and Natacha instantly suggests that she sleep at her apartment, because her father, Igor (Hugues Quester), is out of town. Natacha's real motive is, as with many of Rohmer's films, much more convoluted. Natacha hopes that her father and Jeanne will fall in love, but Igor is already involved in a relationship with Eve (Eloise Bennett). Natacha's manipulation of events is hardly subtle; both Igor and Jeanne are aware of her machinations, and slightly bemused and embarrassed by her continual efforts at matchmaking. Yet, as with all of Rohmer's films, all of this is just the preamble to a denouement that seems absolutely correct, but is utterly unexpected at the same time. Rohmer's mise en scène is slow and deliberate, as it is in all of his works, but the viewer is drawn into the world of his characters. Rohmer's often static camera holds on his characters, and keeps looking at them for minutes at a clip; this is not a film for those with minimal attention spans. But as he charts the course of these star-crossed lovers and their various predicaments, Rohmer is suggesting that we are all somewhat adrift in our own lives, abandoned to the circumstances of chance and fate. Cool, calm, and collected, Rohmer's world is one of deeply personal recollection and reflection, and a pleasant tonic to Hollywood's typical screen fare.
French filmmaker Eric Rohmer begins his Tales of the Four Seasons series with A Tale of Springtime. Parisian philosophy teacher Jeanne (Anne Teyssedre) is temporarily without a place to stay as her cousin occupies her own home and she refuses to stay in her boyfriend's messy apartment while he is away. A young pianist, Natasha (Florence Darel), offers the use of her house and she accepts. After the two become friends, it is apparent there is a rivalry between Natasha and her father Igor's girlfriend, Eve. As Natasha's father drifts away from Eve, Natasha unwittingly finds herself embroiled in the mess. A Winter's Tale is the following installment.