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The Bakery Girl of Monceau: The Criterion Collection

Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales: The Criterion Collection

A young man (Barbet Schroeder) has made a habit of hanging around a coffee shop with his friends after class. For a while he keeps spotting a young girl named Sylvie (Michele Giardon) that he's attracted to. Eventually he works up enough courage to talk to her, and she suggests that they will see each other again soon, to which they might go on a date. But shortly thereafter she disappears. Trolling the same couple blocks on the lookout for her, he runs across a bakery, and begins a flirtation with the baker's assistant, Jacqueline (Claudine Soubrier). As he enacts his daily ritual of coming to the shop, he buys more and more pastries and cookies. Though he feels blasé about the girl and suggests that she's not good enough for him, he eventually asks her out. But the night of the date he runs into Sylvie again, who he goes out with instead and then later marries. Eric Rohmer's La Boulangère de Monceau ("The Bakery Girl of Monceau") was the first of his "Six Moral Tales," and it's also the shortest. Clocking in at 23 minutes, it's a short study of the pursuit of love in youth. Like the others in the series, the young man is torn between two women, but here he is not yet committed to one, and so the flirtations with Jacqueline are not as suspect as some of the other relationships presented in the series. That noted, Rohmer manages to do much with his limited screen time. With the dating rituals based in the pursuit, Schroeder's attempts at seducing the bakery worker may seem slightly cruel, but there's a sense that not everything he says he believes. It's potent stuff and a nice opening salvo for a major series of works. The Criterion Collection presents the black and white The Bakery Girl of Monceau in full frame (1.33:1 OAR) with the French audio on a DD 1.0 track and optional English subtitles. The transfer is impressive given the film's small budget. Also included is Rohmer's short film "Presentation, or Charlotte and her Steak" (10 min.), which features Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina. Since the film itself is so short, the longest supplement of Criterion's "Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales" box set is included herein, "Moral Tales, Filmic Issues" (80 min.), which features producer and star Barbet Schroeder interviewing Rohmer and covers the entire "Moral Tales" series. Folding digipak. Available exclusively in Criterion's "Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales" box-set.
—DSH



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