Suzanne's Career: The Criterion Collection
Bertrand (Philippe Beuzen) is best friends with his college buddy Guillaume (Christian Charriere) and something of his wingman. Guillaume gets all the ladies, with his most recent being the working class Suzanne (Catherine See), and he uses Bertrand to help get her to spend the night with him. They date for a while, but Guillaume grows bored and begins exploiting Suzanne by making her pay for everything. Bertrand has been pursuing Sophie (Dianne Wilkinson), but he can't seem to get a handle on her. After Guillaume and Suzanne break up, there's some time where it seems that she wouldn't mind going out with Bertrand, but he never works up the courage to do anything about it. The second entry in Eric Rohmer's "Six Moral Tales," 1963's La Carriere de Suzanne ("Suzanne's Career") is easily the most minor of the series and runs a brief 55 minutes, but it is not without its pleasures. Here the main character is not so much caught between two women as he is an observer of another relationship. Rohmer's great gift is presenting his character's ideas of what they think is going on, while the reality of their situations presents a text that doesn't necessarily correspond to the protagonist's thoughts on the matter. As such, though Bertrand denies its presences, there's an underlining sexual current to his relationship with Suzanne, and she seems more able to express her interest than he does. Her relationship with Guillaume was obviously abusive, and she masochistically took it, but as the coda shows, there was much less game-playing going on than the main character realized. The greatness of Rohmer's Moral Tales is how he shows his male protagonists in their most naked and self-involved states. And though this episode doesn't offer the same sort of penetrating dissection of the male Id, it does work as a showcase into the mind of a passive male who thinks about things to the point of paralysis. The Criterion Collection presents the black-and-white Suzanne's Career in full frame (1.33:1 OAR) with the French audio on a DD 1.0 track and optional English subtitles. Also included is Rohmer's short film "Nadja in Paris" (9 min.). Folding digipak. Available exclusively in Criterion's "Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales" box-set.
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