A TALE OF SPRINGTIME
Directed by Eric Rohmer
France, 1990; 108 mins, in French with English subtitles

In the first film of Tales of the Four Seasons, a burgeoning friendship between philosophy teacher Jeanne (Anne Teyssèdre) and pianist Natacha (Florence Darel) is strained by jealousy, suspicion, and intrigue. Natacha encourages Jeanne to pursue the former’s father, Igor (Hugues Quester), in order to supplant Eve (Eloïse Bennett), the young girlfriend Natacha loathes. Natacha’s scheme, however, risks alienating those closest to her as well as entangling Jeanne in a romantic drama she has vowed to avoid. A Tale of Springtime  demonstrates Rohmer in full command of subtle visual storytelling as he contrasts the brightness of his characters’ Parisian and suburban surroundings with their conflicting desires, ideas, and temperaments.

 

Tales of the Four Seasons was the final film series by Eric Rohmer, previously responsible for two of cinema’s most famous cycles: Six Moral Tales, and Comedies and Proverbs. Set in different locations within France (Paris and its suburbs, Nevers, Brittany, the Rhône Valley), each installment of Four Seasons—A Tale of Springtime (1990), A Tale of Winter (1992), A Tale of Summer (1996), and A Tale of Autumn (1998)—presents with compelling drama and deft humor a variation on Rohmer’s signature thematic preoccupations: the frustration of romantic desire, the difficulty of communication, and the necessity of maintaining faith and ethical integrity in conflicts wrought by pride, ego, or misunderstanding.

 

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Tales of the Four Seasons