DVD - Eric Rohmer: The Early Works (4 stars)

Eric Rohmer: The Early Works

(15) 174min (Artificial Eye DVD Retail)


The French New Wave debuts of the late 50s that we all know about are Godard’s Breathless and Truffaut’s 400 Blows, but Eric Rohmer’s too little seen 1959 debut feature, Le Signe Du Lion (Sign of the Lion) is easily their equal. Receiving a telegram telling him that his aunt has died, an idle American émigré in Paris celebrates, believing he’s come into a fortune. Instead it turns out he’s been disinherited, and his cousin is the sole beneficiary of the will. As all his friends leave for the August holidays, he’s left to cope on his own and proves hopelessly inadequate to the task.

Utilising Paris locations, and filming in a simple style relying greatly on medium shots, Rohmer also gives us a music track that manages to capture the central character’s feelings without reducing him to a cipher for ours. The shorts accompanying it are 1963’s La Boulangere De Monceau and La Carriere De Suzanne from the same year - both are engaging sketches from a master filmmaker. Extras include further shorts and a filmography.

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