Warmth In The Cold: Rohmer’s “A Tale of Winter”

The chief character in Eric Rohmer‘s French film, A Tale of Winter (1992, available on YouTube), Felicie (Charlotte Very) is a not-very-bright young woman who is “protected” by the supernatural, by God.  She is protected in the sense of being granted a miracle of sorts.

But Felicie is no saint, and she says “Religion and I don’t get along.”  She risks getting pregnant during a joyful romance with her beloved Charles, and pregnant she becomes.  After foolishly losing track of Charles, she gets involved with two men at the same time, as though she is greedy.  One of these men, Loic (Herve Furic), is a wishy-washy Catholic intellectual—unmarried when he probably shouldn’t be.  Deeply fond of him, Felicie nevertheless does not love him (she loves Charles).  And Felicie, without converting, seems to receive God’s favor.  In a way—because in the film’s beginning footage she frolics unclothed with Charles—she is the naked pagan who turns into the blessed “Christian.”

With much, much talk, A Tale of Winter is another Rohmer film that demands a lot from a viewer, but it’s worth it.  It is quiet and heartening, and in Luc Pages’s cinematography there is subdued, wintry prettiness.  Charlotte Very is pretty too.  Close to being one of Rohmer’s best films, Winter is, I think, simply too static but also rather lovable in spite of itself.

(In French with English subtitles)

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