Seriality and theme
in Eric Rohmer
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This chapter is devoted to the Contes moraux, Comédies et proverbes, and Contes des quatre saisons, and looks at how Rohmer's decision to work by thematic series forces the viewer to intuit relations of complementarity, identity, and opposition that lend each cycle a complex, musical texture. Seriality forces the viewer to adopt a self-critical attitude and to refuse absorption in favour of active comparison. As it examines the internal dynamics and discursive model(s) of each of Rohmer's three major series, the chapter aims to problematise the notion that a classically inspired cinema of psychological refinements must be anti-modern or, worse, reactionary. Cast by some critics as a right-leaning bourgeois humanist, Rohmer can also be viewed, on the basis of his cycles, as the same manner of formalist that he and Chabrol considered Alfred Hitchcock to be: a consummate 'inventor of forms'.

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