I shall start with a delightful little comedy from around the middle of his career, "Pauline à la Plage" [Eng. Title: Pauline at the Beach], a film whose idea originated way back in the 1950's in a heavily thumbed notebook that Rohmer enthusiastically waves to the camera in the DVD interview. It is also one of Rohmer's personal favourites (and mine too), and therefore a fitting start to his filmography in the blog.
Set in a sunny northern coastal town, the film observes the coming of age of adolescent Pauline amidst the antics of her much older cousin Marión and the other adult men they encounter. They're on holiday and a recently separated Marión had been asked to be the minder of precocious, intelligent, and inquisitive Pauline. We see them drawing attention from prospective suitors, falling in love, being betrayed, getting confused, and moving on in this comedy of errors. Towards the end, it is Pauline, belying her tender years that comes through as the most mature of the lot.
Despite the fact that the actress playing Pauline was barely sixteen when the film was made, I've chosen to post the compilation because the film is such a beautiful piece of cinema, one that all members of my family, young and old have watched and enjoyed. Beautiful French icon Arielle Dombasle who plays Marión was in her stunning prime, and Amanda Langlet is adorable and incredibly cute as the young Pauline in the verge of becoming an adult. The screenplay and characterisation is flawless, as is the visually arresting cinematography and the charming direction. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!
I've cut my compilation from my Eric Rohmer Collection box set, which includes a must-see interview with the great man, and also a radio interview with English subtitles. But for those who want to purchase the film separately, I'm not sure if there are any extras, but here's a link anyway.
Amazon DVD Link
Compilation: Arielle Dombasle, Amanda Langlet, and Rosette
- Marión meets up with an old friend Pierre, and introduces him to cousin Pauline. Marión is played by the sexy Arielle Dombasle, and Pauline by the adorable Amanda Langlet.
- But soon they befriend Henri, a serial womaniser unbeknown to them, and Marión ends up inviting him to bed.
- Local lad Sylvain sets his sights on Pauline, and Henri more or less encourages their contact as he feels it's about time she had her cherry picked. Marión sees them in the act and leaves shocked.
- Henri with Marión.
- Pierre notices local loose girl and peanut vendor Louisette frolicking naked in Henri's bathroom and assumes the obvious. Louisette is played by foxy Rosette.
- When Marión drops by Henri's house unexpectedly, Sylvain sounds off the alarm and is pushed into the bedroom along with Louisette.
- Pauline comes looking for Marión at Henri's house when she learns Sylvain had been fooling around with Louisette.