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The Green Ray Review

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With her holiday cancelled at the last minute, a Parisian secretary tests the patience of her friends as she dallies over her plans. Unsure what she wants out of life, let alone the summer, she half-heartedly accepts invitations that take her from Cherbourg to Biarritz.

★★★★

A former editor of Cahiers Du Cinéma, Eric Rohmer has been at the forefront of French film for over half a century. It's fitting, therefore, that the National Film Theatre should include a retrospective to this most observant and civilised of auteurs in its 50th anniversary celebrations.

Employing a deceptively spare shooting style, Rohmer has largely focused on the romantic entanglements of hapless men and mutable women in such gratifyingly articulate series as Comedies And Proverbs, Six Moral Tales and Tales Of The Four Seasons.

Indeed, The Green Ray, winner of the Golden Lion at Venice in 1986, returns to such familiar themes as the exquisite agony of love, the caprice of youth and the complexity of modern existence.

But Marie Rivière's Delphine is Rohmer's most frustrating of heroines, as she searches for sublimity in an imperfect world. It's a brave, largely improvised performance, yet it typifies Rohmer's genius for capturing the rhythm and rationale of life.

Elegant, eloquent and teeming with ideas about everything from the impermanence of romance to the summer holiday blues.