Friday, June 26, 2009

La Collectionneuse (1967)

Retro Active Critique #12
In case someone reading this isn't familiar with Eric Rohmer's films: It would hardly be surprising if Woody Allen was inspired somewhat (or a great deal) by this inimitable filmmaker. As far as 'La Collectionneuse' goes, similarities are fewer. What is shared is that conversational element. 
Eric Rohmer's characters tend to ramble and muse. His plots are less about action, more about spoken ideologies. However, Rohmer's treatment––particularly here––is not about neuroticism or self-depreciation. Rather, it's about philosophy and condescension, a more Gallic behavior trait. I've always been impressed with how Eric Rohmer speaks from a realm of storytelling all his own.
'La Collectionneuse' is charmingly lackadaisical, featuring three people coexisting in an idyllic country home near Saint Tropez in the summertime. They do little but test one another's boundaries. The principal character, Adrien, is a bit of a dandy who waxes philosophical to himself in voiceover––about himself and about his intent to do nothing at all while he stays at the house. 
Meanwhile, he is consumed with thoughts about the girl, Haydee, whom he tags as a collector of men. Daniel, their host, has little to do but to be a self-proclaimed 'barbarian'. And Haydee (just like they meanly pester her about) simply wants to have herself a bit of summertime fun with her male admirers.
When I watch this film (and it is quite possibly my favorite to watch) it's a sort of vacation from the world. And it is one of the best to capture the mood of the late 1960's I crave. The pace, the existential humor––it's a small bit of paradise for me. 

Whenever anyone has told me they are not a fan of Eric Rohmer's work, I try to understand while letting them know they must not have seen 'La Collectionneuse' (usually they haven't.) I happen to love the extent of Rohmer's work, but 'La Collectionneuse' for me is the one that really matters. With this film, I am utterly satisfied from start to finish & back again.


  1. Totally nailed it, and then some, regarding the ever-so marvelous cinematic work of Eric Rohmer. In other words, thanks a bunch for putting this in somewhere out there/in here circulation back when you did. Luckily, I somehow tripped and fell in the nearest available vicinity and was fortunate enough to finally discover it.

  2. Thanks John, I'm glad you stumbled over here & enjoyed this post too! :)