Tuesday January 12th, 2010

Rohmer the Writer

six-moral-talesEric Rohmer, the legendary French filmmaker who died at 89 on Monday, was a writer before he got into movies. In addition to writing a novel (Elisabeth) under the pseudonym Gilbert Cordier, he wrote six stories that would later be turned into his famous series of films, Six Moral Tales.

The box set of those six DVDs comes with a book of the original stories, which Rohmer says were written “when I did not yet know whether I was going to be a filmmaker.” The most famous of those movies at the time in the U.S. (nominated for two Oscars) may have been My Night at Maud’s. (The original trailer for it can be seen here.) Early on in the original story, the narrator writes:

I was living in Clermont-Ferrand, an industrial city in south-central France, where for two months I had been working as an engineer at the Michelin tire complex. Prior to that, I had worked for a subsidiary of Standard Oil in Vancouver, before moving on to Valparaíso. Not that I had ever considered myself an expatriot. An involvement that I won’t go into had kept me away from France longer than I had intended. Now I was free, and beginning to think about marriage.