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A Tale of Springtime / Conte de printemps Review

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Philosophy teacher Jeanne has an absent boyfriend and Natasha has lost her necklace. As though that wasn't enough, Natasha is trying pair Jeanne up with her old man, who's young love interest is suspected of being a bit of a magpie...

★★★★★

The sound of an Eric Rohmer film is that of young women discussing love as they clunk across polished wooden floors. The wooden floors come from his naturalistic insistence on filming in real apartments. And the young women — well, they clunk for different reasons.

A pretty teacher befriends a young girl and her middle-aged father. They chat about life and love, and (sure enough) thunder over the floors of a country cottage and a variety of Paris apartments. As usual with Rohmcr, neither complex plotting nor histrionic acting get in the way of the ordinary people he depicts. Yet despite his fine record of films which convincingly insinuate us into the lives of his heroines, this piece somehow never grips.

The fault lies mostly with Anne Teyssedre. As Jeanne, the central character, she displays the square-jawed self-possession of a house-brick and has an equivalent appeal to our sympathy. Although there are tears before credit time, her immobile face sinks both perky supporting performances and Rohmer's usual low-octane plot. Three more installments (you got it - Summer, Winter and Autumn) followed between 1992 and 1998.

At times charming, but ponderous overall

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