THE AVIATOR'S WIFE - Eric Rohmer / France 1981 (3.5 STARS)
15 December 2003: It is always difficult to get overtly excited about an Eric Rohmer film or make any relative comparisons with conviction - Eric Rohmer's works are almost like Jazz music, delicate in their appeal and full of irony, yet not given to the charts. The Aviator's Wife, the 1st in Rohmer's series of Comedies & Proverbs is subtle like poetry by full of the irony of urban existence. Set in his hometown Paris (as most of his films are), this is a film about a young woman's insecurity about growing old lonely, and a young man's obsession with the slightly older woman. Artfully made with a color palette that seems to reflect the hues of the lives of the characters, the film is talkative yet reflective and insecure with a certain confidence.
• Mise-en-scene: The character's motivations are developed with painstaking detail in an attempt to build characters that we may grow to either love or loath, but irrespective respect as real people. I was drawn to the young man's character in particular and to his singularly obsessive personality even though he was gentle and carefree at first sight.
• The older woman was so typically stereo cast as idiosyncratic, intense and detached in a manner only the French can be. In the final scene one feel for the boy when he discovers that the young girl he meets on the bus has been feeding him all along, but before we have time to react, Rohmer makes a comic joke of the situation by spinning the movie into a loop so that we end up almost where we started, except that we've got a different man that the protagonist is trailing this time around.
• The Cinematography, is bland, almost dogma like (way before the birth of Dogma- this is 1981), and there is almost no emphasis at technique beyond functionality. Yet sound is used to haunting effect, with ambient sound playing a potent character. Whether this was because of poor on location sound or whether this has been used as a stylistic element to enhance the narrative is however difficult to tell.