Eric Rohmer: 1920 – 2010
According to reports, filmmaker Eric Rohmer has died at the age of 89. His was a long career in the film business, one that started in 1950 with his debut feature, Journal d’un scélérat. Rohmer was also an avid writer and critic. That same year, he founded Gazette du Cinema along with filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Rivette, and later served as editor-in-chief of the famed Cahiers du Cinema. He and his critical peers would go on to launch the French New Wave of Cinema, an influential arthouse movement that broke the conventional rules of filmmaking.
His style focuses more on feeling and character than plot. Subtle, lyrical and meditative could all be words used to describe his films, which include My Night at Maud’s, Claire’s Knee and Pauline at the Beach (trailers below). In an interview with The Observer in 2001, Rohmer reflected on his ability to stick around after fifty years in the business:
I don’t owe my success to state subsidies but to a faithful public which has sustained me. Though not huge it has kept me going because my films are not very expensive to make.”
And because of that under-the-radar, cheap-to-finance filmmaking method, Rohmer had the luxury of making whatever kind of film he so chose without the anxiety of commercial appeal. If that isn’t the definition of a true auteur, than I don’t know what is.