Sunday 18 March 2012

Chloe in the Afternoon [1972]

In the final episode of the highly acclaimed ‘Six Moral Tales’ series, viz. Chloe in the Afternoon, French maestro Eric Rohmer tackled a moral dilemma that most people would easily connect with – that of marital fidelity. As a particular reviewer has aptly observed, while most films concentrate on portraying the consequences and after-effects of infidelity, this dealt with the temptations that lead to one and the consequent internal wavering and guilty conscience that accompany it. Frederic (Bernard Verley) is a successful businessman and, despite his love for ogling at women, also a doting husband. However his life is also in a state of ennui and a sort of status quo, which get shattered when a female he knew long back suddenly surfaces into his perfectly poised life. When Chloe (Zouzou) arrives without any notice to his office, he doesn’t seem too happy initially – he’s even brusque to her at times. However, in a clever plot progression, we find him not just ending up surreptitiously meeting the brash, impulsive and unpredictable Chloe (a complete antithesis to his nature) despite his initial misgivings, he even finds himself increasingly responding to her overt acts of seduction despite pangs of guilty feeling. The subtle manner in which the resolution to his moral dilemma occurs formed the highlight of the film for me. Interestingly, characters belonging to the other Six Moral Tales films, like My Night at Maud’s, Claire’s Knee, etc., appear during a long monologue sequence which was, for me, the weakest aspect of this otherwise quietly thought-provoking drama.

Director: Eric Rohmer
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Romance
Language: French
Country: France


Sam Juliano said...

Rohmer again is fascinated with human game-playing, which reaffirms original love. Agreed that temptation and guilt are explored exhaustively here. It's one of teh best films of the group methinks. Terrific review!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot Sam. Rohmer really knew how to extract the deepest of meanings from simple human stories, without ever being overbearing or forceful in his approach.