Six Moral Tales

VI. Love in the Afternoon


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Synopsis

The multifaceted, deeply personal work of Eric Rohmer has had an effect on cinema unlike any other. One of the founding critics of the history-making Cahiers du cinéma, Rohmer began translating his written manifestos to film in the 1960s, standing apart from his New Wave contemporaries with his patented brand of gently existential, hyperarticulate character studies set against vivid seasonal landscapes. This near genre unto itself was established with the audacious and wildly influential series Six Moral Tales. A succession of encounters between fragile men and the women who tempt them, Six Moral Tales unleashed on the film world a new voice, one that was at once sexy, philosophical, modern, daring, nonjudgmental, and liberating.

Picture 8/10

The final film in Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral TalesLove in the Afternoon, is presented on the third disc of Criterion’s 3-disc set, sharing the disc with Claire’s Knee. The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 with a 1080p/24hz high-definition encode. The new master has been created from a new 2K restoration, scanned from the 35mm original camera negative.

Similar to the previous edition in the DVD box set, this film probably offers the best-looking visual presentation of all of the films in the set. Like other colour films in the set the colours are questionable, yet, in this case, I feel they offer a bit of an improvement over the previous DVD. The colours on the DVD can have a real heavy yellow tint to them, to the point that skin tones are jaundiced. The Blu-ray ends up leaning more towards a teal a lot of the time, and this does offer improvements over the DVD: a purple sweater looks far better, interiors look a little more dynamic in their colours, reds in the titles look better, and skin tones look far less jaundiced. Still, some blacks can look off, crushing out details, and skies look yellow a lot of the time here, where they still looked blue on the DVD. There’s probably a happy medium to be found between the two editions, but having said that, on the whole, I think the colours do look better with this presentation, even if I still have some reservations.

The image on the DVD (which was sourced from a restoration based off of an interpositive) was actually quite clear itself, but the presentation on this Blu-ray is significantly sharper, delivering the finer details and textures far better: patterns, fibers, hairs, and more are crystal clear, and film grain is rendered well, all leading to a significantly more photographic look. The print is in excellent shape, a couple of tram lines popping up, but there is one sequence close to the midway point of the film where it does look as though a source other than the negative has been used: the picture looks fuzzier, grain is muddled, and the colours look washed out. The same scene on the DVD also takes on a similar look.

Though I am a little iffy on the colours, the picture as a whole still provides a pretty significant upgrade over the DVD, providing a far sharper and cleaner image.

Audio 7/10

The film’s audio is presented in lossless 1.0 PCM mono. To my surprise the track shows some decent range and fidelity, with dialogue sounding crisp and clear. There are some scenes with some street noise in the background, and these effects are mixed a bit louder without coming off edgy or harsh. It’s an excellent sounding track.

Extras 4/10

Each film gets a small set of supplements with it and Criterion tacks on a couple here. They include Rohmer’s 18-minute short film Véronique and Her Dunce (upscaled standard-definition), which is an amusing little short about a tutor who has (much to her misfortune) been hired by a disinterested mother to help bring up the grades of her son in both math and French, to little avail. It’s very different from every other Rohmer film in this set, and fairly funny in its execution, particularly when the two characters clash (like when she’s trying to explain how to divide fractions). This is followed by a less than thrilling appreciation featuring Neil LaBute, where the director talks about what he admires most about the filmmaker. It’s fine but not terribly enlightening. Since the set was lacking a real analytical push (at least in the on-disc features) I was probably putting more hope in this one, and alas…

Things then close with the film’s theatrical trailer. Unfortunately one of the more underwhelming set of features in the set, but the short is at least fun.

Closing

The DVD’s presentation still looks strong, but the Blu-ray manages to offer a considerable improvement, even if I’m not entirely sold on the colours. Unfortunately the supplements are still just as weak.

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Directed by: Eric Rohmer
Year: 1963 | 1963 | 1967 | 1969 | 1970 | 1972
Time: 23 | 54 | 89 | 110 | 105 | 97 min.
 
Series: The Criterion Collection
Edition #: 342
Licensor: Les Films du Losange
Release Date: May 05 2020
MSRP: $99.95
 
Blu-ray
3 Discs | BD-50
1.37:1 ratio
French 1.0 PCM Mono
Subtitles: English
Region A
 
 Moral Tales, Filmic Issues, a new video conversation with Eric Rohmer and Barbet Schroeder   Rohmer’s short film Presentation, or Charlotte and Her Steak (1951)   Rohmer’s short film Nadja in Paris (1964)   On Pascal, (1965), directed by Rohmer for the educational TV series En profil dans le texte   A 1974 episode of the French television program Télécinéma, featuring interviews with star Jean-Louis Trintignant, film critic Jean Douchet, and producer Pierre Cottrell   Rohmer’s short film A Modern Coed (1966)   A 1977 episode of the TVOntario program Parlons cinema, featuring an interview with Eric Rohmer on La collectionneuse   Rohmer’s short film The Curve (1999)   An excerpt from the French television program Le journal du cinéma, featuring interviews with Jean-Claude Brialy, Béatrice Romand, and Laurence de Monahagan   Video afterword with director and writer Neil LaBute   Rohmer’s short film Véronique and Her Dunce (1958)   Original theatrical trailer for My Night at Maud's   Original theatrical trailer for La collectionneuse   Original theatrical trailer for Clarie's Knee   Original theatrical trailer for Love in the Afternoon   Six Moral Tales, the original stories by Eric Rohmer   A booklet featuring Eric Rohmer’s landmark essay “For a Talking Cinema,” excerpts from cinematographer Nestor Almendros’s autobiography, and new essays by Geoff Andrew, Ginette Vincendeau, Phillip Lopate, Kent Jones, Molly Haskell, and Armond White