Filmmaker Eric Rohmer Dies at 89

Eric Rohmer, the French auteur best-known for making subdued, observant films meditating on the psychology of human interaction, died Monday at age 89.

Rohmer (born Jean-Marie Maurice Scherer) had no interest in films until he began regularly attending the Cinematheque Nationale in Paris, according to Variety. In the early 1950s, like his fellow New Wave filmmakers, Rohmer began writing for film publications before making features including La Revue du Cinema and La Parisienne. He co-founded La Gazette du Cinema with contemporaries Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut. He was Editor-in-Chief of the landmark French cinema publication Cahiers du Cinema from 1956-1963, formative years in which the journal explored its infamous theories on auterism in American cinema.

Rohmer’s most beloved works are included in his series, “Six Moral Tales.” Some of the most respected titles in this series – those that basically defined Rohmer – were La Collectionneuse (1967, winner of the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and Rohmer’s first color film), My Night at Maud’s (1969, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film and earning Rohmer a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination), Claire’s Knee (1970, top-prize winner at the San Sebastian Film Festival), and Love in the Afternoon (1972). Rohmer won the Grand Prize of the Jury award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976 for his film The Marquis of O. The director won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2001 for his career in filmmaking.

Rohmer was a truly modern cinematic artist with a unique voice, possessing a style that distinguished him from his New Wave contemporaries. Though Rohmer was an expert at form, rather than preoccupying himself with formal exercises akin to Godard or Truffaut, Rohmer’s films explored the subtle psychology of human interaction, paying special attention to how this psychology manifests itself in relationships between men and women. He possessed a keen understanding of human behavior, and his legacy lives on through his magnificent work.

Eric Rohmer, 1920-2010.

Landon is a PhD candidate currently finishing a dissertation on rock 'n' roll movies at Indiana University's department of Communication and Culture.

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