TSPDT Greatest Films #385 Le genou de Claire (Eric Rohmer, 1970)
One of the most sensual offering of Eric Rohmer's Moral tales. Le genou de Claire tells the story of Jérôme, a diplomat living for a month in the villa of his family in Switzerland near the Leman Lake. He mets one of his closest friend, Aurora a writer that convinces Jérôme to flirt with Laura and then he choose by himself to extend the play or simply by his own curiosity to seduce Claire, Laura's older sister.
This film would have had never seen the light of day if it was made today. The weirdness of the relationship between Jérôme, 35 years and Laura, 16 years old gives us a little uneasiness to care for the succes of the relationship. On some level, we actually are relieve to learn that there was no attraction, but the images are still weird. The first half of the film is all about Jérôme and Laura. But when Claire appears, the sexual desire is more palpable and the shots of Claire's knee and the rest of her body too, are very sensual and attractive. The strenght of the situations is fully exploited with the fact that the viewer knows that Jérôme is strongly appealed by Claire's knee. Rohmer undresses her knees and it appears in every frame of the scenes she is in.
Like the other Rohmer films I had the opportunity to see, there are lots and lots of dialogue. French films probably earn their stereotype of being laborious on the talks because of Rohmer only. Don't read me wrong, I love this kind of blabbering that reminds me of a Woody Allen or the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset duet by Richard Linklater. On the visual level, this is by far his most beautiful film, filled with images of nature and colorful outdoors. It's fact, Rohmer loved to shot in exteriors and I think that he simply mastered those scenes.
I am ashamed to say that I am discovering Rohmer's oeuvre and I think that this is way too late after his death earlier this year. In respect I will check everyone of them and report back my thoughts on every of them.