The Wind in Rohmer

Sean Finney

The Green Ray is also called Summer. A woman loses her boyfriend and her vacation plans. A friend brings her to the coast.

But she defends vegetarianism with just a bit too much stamina. It's embarrassing. You can hear the silverware in the still air.

She walks on overgrown paths and leans on a wooden gate to look at a field. There may be rain. We see just trees and bushes shaking in the wind. She cries.

How patient Eric Rohmer makes me! Jailer who confiscates music for swaying branches.

What is this director's weakness?
Wind, just challenge him with wind.
As it blows the flowers on the path where she runs.
Suspicion of action, but no danger.
As it blows her hat in the mountains
At the base
of the dry bunny slope.

Time slides evenly like oil on water
Floating above action. What broken display of manners
Is mended before he cuts the scene with a card
Announcing a new day?

I listen for my Rohmer moment and hear
Feelings like the police band shouted from a cell phone speaker
In an alley by my building.

Stanley Kubrick has a weakness for kicks and for stomping, for parade dress. Full Metal Jacket's preamble on the grounds. Barry Lyndon makes the Irish lass dance with English officers in a field. And in A Clockwork Orange, our hero stomps to torment victims and mock jailers. All are like drum beats in the rhythm of interesting and keep-your-seat.

Is it enough to peel the world patiently? Or should it be ordered by a drill instructor?

Sustained views of Shelley Duvall's face in 3 Women, but the camera is moving. She is moving. Guns make plot suggestions but no points. Robert Altman invites your eye down rabbit holes Rohmer excludes; yet Altman still watches his parable intently. He has a weakness for drifters and mosaic and knows it.

Shelley's yellow dress caught in the car door and then she opens the door and it was just something we saw -- not an essential prop like the expensive nail gun that we see concluding a home project and then, finally, concluding a bad guy at the end of Lethal Weapon II. Not the manhole seen from the train to foreshadow running through sewers in The Fugitive. Not the professional magician's absolute control of recognition and revenue. James Bond blows up the champagne truck -- yet there's just enough time to read the champagne label. Plot purpose and product placement -- or a total blur. No room for scenery.

The French doors open and the script unravels like yarn that means so much soft work and patience lie ahead.