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La Collectionneuse: The Criterion Collection

Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales: The Criterion Collection

Adrien (Patrick Bachau) is a dandy art dealer on summer leave from his girlfriend; Daniel (Daniel Pommereulle) is an artist friend looking for a summer retreat; while Haydee (Haydee Politoff) is young woman who knows neither men, and is simply hanging out. All are staying at a summer home of a friend of theirs, and waste away their time. Adrien at first longs for the solitude of reading, but becomes distracted when he finds that Haydee is staying next door to him (he first notices her when he hears her in coitus). And after noting her evening patterns — which often involve leaving with one man and returning with another — he decides he will go about seducing her in a roundabout way. His attempts fail, and he decides to foist Daniel on her. Daniel and Haydee begin a relationship, which Adrien assumes is out of gamesmanship and spite towards him, but they fall out just as quickly. When another man enters into the picture, Adrien sees his shot. La Collectionneuse (1967) is the fourth chapter of writer/director Eric Rohmer's "Six Moral Tales" cycle, but the third one filmed. The story goes that Rohmer was waiting on the availability of Jean-Louis Trintignant for My Night at Maud's, and so he made this in his down time, which was done on the extreme cheap. It was also the first of the Moral Tales in color, which gives a dividing line to the series (the first half is in black and white) — chronology be damned. This also speaks to Rohmer's commitment and vision to these tales, since he didn't change the order. The story is much like the others, a man with one woman finds himself drawn to another and tries to justify his attraction without consummating it, but in this case Rohmer is drawn to an extraordinarily attractive man. And in that the film may have a weakness — his circuitous way of going after Haydee is defined well enough by his indirect interest, but it's also a way of avoiding their natural attraction, and his inherent cocksmanship. That noted, Rohmer's gift is creating characters who feel very real, and their teasing circling of each other has such a great rhythm that it never gets in the way. But the great truth of the film is how humans often complicate a situation to make it interesting, and by doing so often deny themselves the thing they want — in some cases the act of the chase is more interesting than getting what was wanted. This was the first Moral Tale shot by Nestor Almendros, and his first feature-length collaboration with Rohmer. For a film shot on a limited budget and with very little film stock (they used 2/3 of the film shot), it looks superb. Such is benefited by the Criterion Collection's new transfer, which is presented in full frame (1.33:1 OAR) with the French audio on a DD 1.0 track and optional English subtitles. Extras include the short Rohmer directed documentary "A Modern Coed" (13 min.), and "Parlons Cinema" (51 min.), which offers a 1977 interview with Rohmer about this film and his career in general. Theatrical trailer, folding digipak. Available exclusively in Criterion's "Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales" box-set.
—DSH



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