Saturday, February 16, 2019
Love in the Afternoon (1972 film)
Written and directed by Eric Rohmer, L’Amour l’apres-midi (Love in the Afternoon (or in its U.S. title, Chloe in the Afternoon)) is the story of a married man whose life and marriage is threatened by the appearance of a former flame where he thinks about having an affair. The sixth and final film of Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales, the film plays into the idea of temptation as well as life outside of marriage. Starring Bernard Verley, Francoise Verley, Zouzou, and Daniel Ceccaldi. L’Amour l’apres-midi is an evocative and witty film from Eric Rohmer.
The film follows a married businessman who has it all fantasizes about the idea of being with other women as that fantasy starts to come reality by the appearance of an old flame who has returned to his life. It’s a film that plays into a man who is thinking about having an affair yet is dealing with a lot in his life as well as the fact that he and his wife are about to have another child. Eric Rohmer’s screenplay has a simple structure where its prologue is about Frederic (Bernard Verley) and his life being married to Helene (Francoise Verley) while running a business that is doing modestly well that can afford him two attractive secretaries whom he doesn’t flirt with.
Still, Frederic thinks about being with other women as it’s just a fantasy that leads to the first part with the arrival of his former flame Chloe (Zouzou) who has returned to Paris and is looking for a new place to live. She and Frederic would resume their friendship with the latter learning about the former’s relationships in the past as he is thinking about engaging an affair with her. The film’s second part which is its third act is about the aftermath of the birth of his son as he becomes conflicted about his relationship with both Helene and Chloe with the latter wanting the things he has believing a child would fulfill her. It adds to Frederic’s own conflict about his infatuation towards Chloe as he’s already have a family with Helene whom he still cares for.
Rohmer’s direction doesn’t bear a lot of style for much of the film in favor of its simple approach to showcasing a man’s family life and his temptation to commit adultery. Shot on location in Paris, Rohmer doesn’t go for a lot of wide shots in the film as it’s more about the exchanges and interaction between characters and the settings they’re in whether it’s a mall, an office, a small apartment, or at a café. Even in the usage of close-ups and medium shots that play into some of the emotional moments of the film that include these exchanges between Frederic and Chloe. During the film’s prologue section, Rohmer would create this sequence that does play into fantasy where Frederic would meet characters from previous entries of the Six Moral Tales to play into this idea of control as if Frederic could get any woman he wanted.
Once Chloe enters the film, it does bear bits of humor yet Rohmer maintains that simplicity into their interactions and scenes together. Most notably a scene in the mall where Frederic is shopping with Helene and their daughter where they bump into Chloe as it’s the only time Helene and Chloe meet. Helene wouldn’t know anything about Frederic’s time with Chloe only thinking it’s innocent yet the film’s third act play into these ideas of adultery as well as what Chloe wants. Rohmer doesn’t make things easy in his compositions into the conflict that Frederic faces as it does raise a lot of moral questions into what he could gain but also what could he lose. Overall, Rohmer crafts an intoxicating and captivating film about a man thinking about having an affair with a former flame.
Cinematographers Nestor Almendros, Jean-Claude Riviere, and Philippe Rousselot do brilliant work with the film’s cinematography with its low-key yet naturalistic approach to lighting with much of the work done by Almendros who would use available light for some of the film’s interiors. Editors Cecile Decugis and Martine Kaflon do excellent work with the editing as it is largely straightforward with a few montages that includes the dream sequence. Set decorator Nicole Rachline does terrific work with the look of Frederic’s office as well as his home and the small apartment that Chloe would live in.
Costume designer Daniel Hechter-Vog does nice work with the costumes as it is largely casual with a few stylish bits including a shirt that Frederic is convinced to buy. The sound work of Jean-Pierre Ruh and Michel Laurent, along with mixing by Jacques Carrere, do superb work with the sound to capture the atmosphere of the locations as well as edit some of Frederic’s narration into what he’s dealing with. The film’s music by Arie Dzierlatka is wonderful for its low-key yet playful orchestral score that help play into the humor along with some somber pieces for the drama.
The film’s amazing cast feature some notable small roles from Suze Randall as an English nanny, Irene Skobline as a saleswoman who convinces Frederic to buy a shirt, Sylvaine Charlet as Chloe’s landlady, Malvina Penne and Babette Ferrier in their respective roles as Frederic and Gerard’s secretaries in Fabienne and Martine, and Daniel Ceccaldi in a terrific performance as Frederic’s business partner Gerard who is fascinated by Chloe though he prefers the company of his secretaries though the relationship is more platonic than romantic. From the previous films of the Six Moral Tales series, there’s Haydee Politoff as Haydee from La Collectionneuse, Francoise Fabian as Maud and Marie-Christine Barrault as Francoise from My Night at Maud’s, and the quartet of Laurence de Monaghan as Claire, Gerard Falconetti as Gilles, Aurora Cornu as Aurora, and Beatrice Romand as Laura from Claire’s Knee as they all appear in cameo appearances from the film’s dream sequence.
Zouzou is brilliant as Chloe as a former flame of Frederic who is trying to find some stability in her life as she finds solace in Frederic yet realizes she wants so much more which adds to Frederic’s internal conflict. Francoise Verley is excellent as Helene as Frederic’s wife as a schoolteacher who is content with her life yet is aware that something isn’t going right with Frederic as well as the chaos of family life. Finally, there’s Bernard Verley in an incredible performance as Frederic as a businessman who has it all yet feels unfulfilled where he fantasizes about having affairs with other women where it would become a reality once Chloe returns to his life as he deals with wanting to stray from the life he has in favor of something more exciting but also with a lot of baggage as well.
L’Amour l’apres-midi is a phenomenal film from Eric Rohmer that features great performances from Bernard Verley, Francoise Verley, and Zouzou. Along with its themes of adultery and fantasy as well as its gorgeous look and setting, music, and its connection to past films from the Six Moral Tales series. It’s definitely a film that play into the idea of infidelity and the need of emotional fulfillment and stability. In the end, L’Amour l’apres-midi is a sensational film from Eric Rohmer.
Related: (I Think I Love My Wife)
Eric Rohmer Films: (The Sign of Leo) – The Bakery Girl of Monceau - Suzanne's Career - (Paris vu par-Place de l‘Etoile) – La collectionneuse - My Night at Maud's - Claire's Knee - (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)
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