He who has two women loses his soul. He who has two houses loses his mind
is the proverb around which the fourth film in Eric Rohmer's series of Comédies
is based. As in the other films in this series, Les Nuits de
la pleine lune
is largely concerned with a young woman who has an excessively idealistic
notion about love which sends her in an unexpected direction. Here, that woman is
one of Rohmer's most sophisticated and complex heroines, played with an unusual mix of
sensuality and sensitivity by Pascale Ogier (the daughter of Bulle Ogier,
who starred in a number of films by Rohmer's Nouvelle Vague contemporary
Jacques Rivette, including Duelle (une quarantaine)
The film also features a pleasing turn from the irrepressible Fabrice Luchini, whose unceasing intellectual
ruminations provide much of the film's abundant comedy. The actor previously starred in Rohmer's
Perceval le Gallois
and would later take the lead in L'Arbre, le maire et la médiathèque
Here, Luchini's on-screen rival is played by Christian Vadim, who is perhaps (unfairly) best known as the love child of Catherine Deneuve
and director Roger Vadim.
Compared with most of Rohmer's other films, certainly those in the Comédies
series, Les Nuits de la pleine lune
is a melancholic work
which has an almost Bresson-like minimalism to it. The film is punctuated by long pauses of
silence as the heroine Louise reflects on her situation and decides on her next course
of action, whilst the sombre photography (the dominant colour being an ethereal blue) helps to create
a mood of solemnity which emphasises Louise's isolation.
The film also has a supernatural dimension (i.e. references to the full moon influencing
Louise's behaviour), which is a recurring feature of Rohmer's films. Here, this
is perhaps intended merely to suggest that subconscious impulses rather than conscious
thought is what is motivating Louise's actions. Maybe she moves into her new apartment
in anticipation that her relationship with her boyfriend Rémi might be starting
to fall apart?
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