Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yes a Woman, Yes & Yes (2)

Le Beau Mariage (1982)
directed by Eric Rohmer
rating: 5 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from the vaults

"There's some will, even in love," says Sabine, confirming this new eon of the great film heroine. In all of Rohmer's movies, it is always hard to discern what a character thinks about herself, whether she is right in her own eyes, deceptive, assured. Rohmer himself said that any of his protagonists could wake up just after. His movies could always be dreams.

Sabine, more than Anne in La Femme de l'aviateur, is difficult, even exasperating. But she is true to her honest impression of the heart she carries. Unlike Anne, Sabine is not left behind as the movie concludes. Her suitor, instead - the male - is summarily dismissed (his last act is stooping outside his office door to scrape together the spilled contents of a client's portfolio), and Sabine finds resolution, a good seat on the train to Le Mans, and even, at the very last, a smile.

Rohmer thinks in pictures. When Edmond tells Sabine he wrote a letter she should get today, we know the contents, the gist. We can imagine Edmond writing it, or the room where Sabine might sit to read. But Rohmer keeps Edmond there, let's him stammer and hem, and then explain. We get Sabine's tears, but also her moment of assertion, her grace note, and her exit. When she meets Edmond for the very first time, they come in from outside, and a breeze follows them through the door. Shots through the windows of cars and trains, rain on the streets and awnings of stores, the light in a frame we pass but will surely return to: the most natural beauty you can imagine.

"If I get married, it'll be with a man I like right away."