Eric Rohmer: Filmmaker and Philosopher (Philosophical Filmmakers)

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9781474221139: Eric Rohmer: Filmmaker and Philosopher (Philosophical Filmmakers)

Rohmer is one of the most popular French directors of the second half of the 20th century, one of the members of the famous Nouvelle Vague that reconstituted French cinema based on the theoretical principles articulated in the Cahiers du Cinéma – from whose editorship he was fired when the conservative Catholic opposed its turn toward politicization. Like some of his colleagues, Rohmer is extremely interested in both the history and the philosophy of film: Brother of the noted French philosopher René Scherer, he begins his career as a film critic In his films, deep moral conflicts as well as the search for one's own identity emerge from the intricacies of seemingly superficial everyday life interactions, particularly between a man and a woman.

Hösle's book puts Rohmer in the context of a long French tradition of reflected eroticism, with Marivaux, Musset, Stendhal, and Jean Renoir as crucial figures, and shows how Rohmer both recognizes the inner logic of eroticism and subjects it to moral demands that he inherits from his Catholic background. For Rohmer, the tension between the two can usually only be solved by some unexpected event that can be interpreted as an equivalent of grace.

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About the Author:

Vittorio Hösle is the Paul Kimball Professor of Arts and Letters in the departments of German, Philosophy, and Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, where he directed the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study from 2008 to 2013, and an Ordinary Member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Review:

Hosle offers a valuable contribution to Anglophone Rohmer scholarship, bringing his philosophical background to the thorny topic of religion and film. For readers interested in a Christian interpretation of Rohmer's films, I can warmly recommend this book; Hosle's over-arching thesis about the religious basis of Rohmer's films is supported by concise readings of individual films in Rohmer's oeuvre, all of which illustrate with sensitivity and insight the religious implications of Rohmer's comic morality tales. * Jacob Leigh, Lecturer in the Department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK * In this through and detailed account of Eric Rohmer's three great film cycles, The Moral Tales, Comedies and Proverbs, and The Tales of the Four Seasons, Vittorio Hosle demonstrates how Rohmer undertook one of the great studies of modern erotic life in his cinematic depictions of love relations between men and women. Understanding Rohmer as both a Catholic filmmaker and as well versed in the Germanic philosophical tradition, Hosle shows us how his acutely realist films, always based in a recognizable time and place, nevertheless offer a view of the metaphysical, spiritual and transcendent possibilities that may lie behind our romantic and amorous entanglements. This engaging book encourages us to return to Rohmer's films with a vivid understanding of both their suggestive religious and philosophical resonances and their sympathy with the complexities of the human condition. * Fiona Handyside, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and French, University of Exeter, UK *

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