The Romance of Astrea and Celadon (3 stars)

After being accused of infidelity by his love, Astrea, shepherd Celadon (Andy Gilet) proves his faithfulness by throwing himself into a fast moving river, only to be revived later by a wealthy nymph and her companions. Will Astrea and Celadon ever reunite: after all, before his suicidal gesture he promised he would avoid her forever?

Though comparable to his 1970s period films Perceval le Gallois and The Marquise of O, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon is like much of Eric Rohmer’s contemporary set work (most notably La Collectionneuse, Claire’s Knee and The Green Ray) in that it focuses on the intricacies of love in relation to ethics.

It is, however, a film that is thoroughly admirable without being especially engaging. As Rohmer tries to involve us in the intricacies of fifth century morality, it reminds us just how many period films play more to the expectations of today’s audience rather than the period codes. For Rohmerians it’s an intriguing work, others should probably steer clear. Minimal extras.

(12) 105 min (Artificial Eye DVD retail)

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