Friday, March 27, 2015

Suzanne's Career

Written, co-edited, and directed by Eric Rohmer, Suzanne’s Career is the story of a young man who meets a beautiful and independent woman only to see his best friend make a play for her. The film is an exploration into love and a man’s reaction about his friend taking a prospective girlfriend from him in what is the second part of Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales series. Starring Catherine See, Philippe Beuzen, Christian Charriere, and Diane Wilkinson. Suzanne’s Career is a compelling yet exhilarating film from Eric Rohmer.

The film explores a young medical student who meets a beautiful young woman who becomes the new girlfriend of his best friend who is a notorious playboy. It’s a film that is largely told from the perspective of Bertrand (Philippe Beuzen) who would meet Suzanne (Catherine See) one day as he is hanging out with his friend Guillaume (Christian Charriere). It plays into Bertrand’s love-hate attraction towards Suzanne as he wonders why she is always with the wrong men including Guillaume as she would also pay for their food and such as she would eventually be broke. Eric Rohmer’s screenplay explores Bertrand trying to cope with Suzanne as he would spend some time with her trying to understand what she wants as he is unsure if he should make a move on her. Even as he would be going out with another young woman in Sophie (Diane Wilkinson) in double-dates where he is unsure into what Suzanne wants.

Rohmer’s direction is very engaging for the way he explores Bertrand’s difficulty into understanding Suzanne and her methods as it is a film that plays into a man coming of age into the ideas about women. Rohmer definitely goes for a cinema verite style where he shoots the film in various locations in France with some unique usage of close-ups and medium shots to play into the action. Serving as co-editor with Jackie Raynal, Rohmer keeps the editing straightforward with bits of jump-cuts while getting some reactionary cuts to play into the observations of Bertrand that includes a moment where he knows what Suzanne might be feeling.

Through the black-and-white photography of Daniel Lacambre, Rohmer creates something that does feel rich in its look as it also include some low-key lighting for some interior scenes set in Bertrand’s apartment as it plays into his own loneliness and hesitance to embark on a relationship. There’s also moments where Suzanne might be giving him signals as it plays to Bertrand’s own naivete as well as him understanding about women and why men are fools when it comes to them. Overall, Rohmer creates a very captivating yet touching film about a young man falling for a complicated yet carefree woman.

The film’s cast includes some notable small roles from Patrick Bauchau, Pierre Cottrell, and Jean-Claude Biette as men that briefly went out with Suzanne that Bertrand knows while Diane Wilkinson is excellent as the more intellectual Sophie whom Bertrand isn’t fond of at first as she would eventually play a key role in his development late in the film. Christian Charriere is superb as Guillaume as a playboy who dates Suzanne for a time only to dump her as he claims that she is needy while being a dick towards Bertrand. Catherine See is fantastic as Suzanne as this very independent and modern woman has a lot of attributes that intrigues Bertrand as she is quite opinionated while telling Bertrand about what he should do to win her over. Finally, there’s Philippe Beuzen in an amazing performance as Bertrand as this shy young student who is intrigued by this young woman as he copes with how to win her over as well as his own insecurities and naivete about women.

Suzanne’s Career is an enchantingly rich and fascinating film from Eric Rohmer. With its ensemble cast and a premise that is very universal, it’s a film that isn’t just an exploration into young love but also the world of morals that revolves around a young man’s affections towards a woman. In the end, Suzanne’s Career is a phenomenal film from Eric Rohmer.

Eric Rohmer Films: (The Sign of Leo) - The Bakery Girl of Monceau - (Paris vu par-Place de l‘Etoile) - La Collectionneuse - My Night at Maud’s - Claire’s Knee - Love in the Afternoon (1972 film) - (L’enfance d’une ville) - (The Marquis of O) - (Perceval le Gallois) - (Catherine de Heilbronn) - (The Aviator’s Wife) - (Le Beau Mariage) - Pauline at the Beach - (Full Moon of Paris) - The Green Ray - (Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle) - (Boyfriends and Girlfriends) - (Les Jeux de societe) - (A Tale of Springtime) - (A Tale of Winter) - (L’Arbre, le maire et la mediatheque) - (Le trio en mi bemol) - (Les Rendez-vous de Paris) - (Summer’s Tale) - (Autumn Tale) - (The Lady and the Duke) - (Triple Agent) - (Romance of Astrea and Celadon)

© thevoid99 2015


Ruth said...

I like the sound of this! I also just read your review of The Bakery Girl of Monceau. I haven't even heard of Eric Rohmer, but sounds like he's quite a prominent French filmmaker.

thevoid99 said...

He's one of the key figures of the French New Wave. One of his films was remade by Chris Rock in I Think I Love My Wife which I thought was alright.