Autumn Tale

Director: Eric Rohmer

The final installment in Eric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons’ series, Autumn Tale is one of the veteran director’s best films in years. The most literate of contemporary film-makers, Rohmer delights in examining the contradictions and self-deceptions of his intelligent and articulate characters, whose fine words and intentions differ markedly form what fate has in store for them.
Set in the vineyards of southern France, this wise and witty comedy deals with two women who have entered the autumn of their lives. Magali (Beatrice Romand) is a 45-year-old wine grower who feels lonely and isolated living in the countryside since her son and daughter left home. Without being aware of each other’s plans, both Magali’s best friend, Isabelle (Marie Riviere), and her son’s girlfriend, Rosine (Alexia Portal), decide to do some matchmaking for her. Isabelle begins to secretly search for a husband for Magali through lonely hearts ads, even ‘dating’ one promising candidate, Gerald (Alain Libolt). Meanwhile, Rosine is involved with a rather priggish older professor and thinks he will make a better match for Magali.
This is the premise of Rohmer’s comedy of manners, a breezy, intricately plotted delectation from a man who delights in watching his characters struggle their way towards destinies which others have planned for them, while inadvertently deciding to pursue their own singular way. Wonderfully acted by Rohmer veterans Romand and Riviere, Autumn Tale is sharply observed and ultimately very touching.

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