Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Maurice, Marooned (3)

Pauline à la plage (1983)
directed by Eric Rohmer
rating: 2 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

The central conceit of Pauline - that kids are more honest with themselves than adults, and therefore happier in romance - is a rehash of the sublime last minutes of Le Genou de Claire. The same trip around the block is never as much fun the second time, especially slower. It's a sweet take on youth, but also (here, anyway) naive and not very thoughtful.

Oddly, Rohmer not only lionizes Pauline - she is in control of every one of her encounters - but he does it by being vicious, something he almost never is, with the adults. They flirt and prattle on, bore each other and us, but inhabit too much of the movie to ignore. Rohmer's best films are never about subjects that might be mistaken for a light-hearted Scenes From A Marriage-by-the-Sea, or any one of thousands of dramas about infidelity or divorce. His worst are still beautiful (you can watch the season end just by watching the hydrangeas), but they read like someone else wrote them.

This is one of his worst.