Review: ‘L’Amour, L’Apres-Midi’

Late starter in the New Wave, Eric Rohmer adds another plus to his record with this latest 'moral tale' [the last of his series of six]. His shrewdly knowing dialogue, asides and insight into the vagaries of love come across without verbosity or preciosity. To this add the knowing counterpoint of fine visual nuances, expert acting, bright editing and delicate lensing.

Late starter in the New Wave, Eric Rohmer adds another plus to his record with this latest ‘moral tale’ [the last of his series of six]. His shrewdly knowing dialogue, asides and insight into the vagaries of love come across without verbosity or preciosity. To this add the knowing counterpoint of fine visual nuances, expert acting, bright editing and delicate lensing.

It’s a witty tale of a self-satisfied, middle-class white-collar man (Bernard Verley) who almost gives into Chloe, a free-living, impulsive woman (Zouzou), who barges in on him and whom he has not seen in years. Actually, she was a girlfriend of a friend and almost drove that man to suicide. She is a bit marked by life but still attractive and with the elan, unpredictability and direct emotional charm that Rohmer can exact so well.

Zouzou has heretofore played only in fringe experimental films but with this pic should be sought after. Verley is right as the slightly puffy but still good-looking architect who has found a good relationship with his wife, Helene (Francoise Verley). It is his free afternoons that lead to his problems with the woman and his near-seduction.

All the pro and non-pro actors are effectively used by Rohmer. The nearest thing to a love scene is Verley drying Zouzou when he arrives and she is taking a shower, or when he holds her and rubs her naked back.

L'Amour, L'Apres-Midi

France

Production

Films du Losange/Barbet Schroeder. Director Eric Rohmer; Producer Pierre Cottrell; Writer Eric Rohmer; Camera Nestor Almendros Editor Cecile Decugis; Music Arie Dzierlatka

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Bernard Verley Zouzou Francoise Verley Daniel Ceccaldi Malvina Penne Barbette Ferrier
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