Autumn Tale

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Not to be confused with An Autumn's Tale or Autumn Fairy Tale.
Autumn Tale
Autumn Tale FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Éric Rohmer
Written by Éric Rohmer
Starring Béatrice Romand, Marie Rivière, Alain Libolt, Alexia Portal
Cinematography Diane Baratier
Edited by Mary Stephen
Distributed by October Films (USA)
Release dates September 23, 1998 (1998-09-23) (France, Belgium)
July 1999 (USA)[1]
Running time 112 minutes
Country France
Language French

Autumn Tale (French: Conte d'automne) is a 1998 French film, directed by Éric Rohmer, starring Béatrice Romand, Marie Rivière, Alain Libolt, Didier Sandre, Alexia Portal, and Aurélia Alcaïs. It is the final film of Rohmer's Contes des quatre saisons (Tales of the Four Seasons), which also includes A Tale of Springtime (1990), A Tale of Winter (1992) and A Summer's Tale (1996).

Synopsis[edit]

Magali (Béatrice Romand), forty-something, is a winemaker and a widow: she loves her work but feels lonely. Her friends Rosine (Alexia Portal) and Isabelle (Marie Rivière) both want secretly to find a husband for Magali.

Reception[edit]

Sight & Sound called it a "beautiful, witty and serene film" which "never falls into the talking-heads trap. Encounters in cars, cafés, gardens and restaurants are visually dramatised, allowing the characters' philosophies (the action of the film, as it were) to be expressed dynamically. And this literary emphasis on language, something of a cliché with Rohmer, and the simplicity of the mise en scène rest on tight plotting in the tradition of Rohmer's master, Hitchcock."[2]

Stephen Holden, in excerpts re-published after the film's New York City opening but originally written after the film's appearance as part of the 1998 New York Film Festival, called the film "as sublimely warming an experience as the autumn sun that shines benevolently on the vineyard owned by the film's central character, Magali (Beatrice Romand)"; although the film has its "labored moments" and "except for a twist here and there, you know where the story is going to go", the film nevertheless "evokes such a sensuous atmosphere — bird song, wind and light and shadow that delineate the season and time of day with an astonishing precision — that you are all but transported into Magali's fields, where this year's grapes promise to yield an especially fine vintage."[3]

The Boston Review said "The Autumn Tale... outshines its [Tales of Four Seasons] predecessors....Throughout this film one senses that both the characters and the audience are in the hands of a great psychologist–if one knew more about the Rhône Valley, its old towns and its new factories, one would appreciate even more how Rohmer's women are suited to their local social reality, which is filmed as carefully as they are."[4]

Roger Ebert gave the film four stars out of four, saying "Even though I enjoy Hollywood romantic comedies like Notting Hill, it's like they wear galoshes compared to the sly wit of a movie like Autumn Tale. They stomp squishy-footed through their clockwork plots, while Rohmer elegantly seduces us with people who have all of the alarming unpredictability of life."[5]

Awards[edit]

The film won the Golden Osella ("best screenplay") at the Venice Film Festival. It was selected as the 1999 Best Foreign Language Film by the National Society of Film Critics.

DVD release[edit]

In the United Kingdom, a region 2 DVD was released by Artificial Eye, with English subtitles and an interview with the writer/director.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Misc Notes for Autumn Tale (1999)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  2. ^ "An Autumn Tale". Sight & Sound. British Film Institute. April 1999. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  3. ^ Stephen Holden (July 9, 1999). "Mellow and Full of Charm Under the Autumn Sun". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  4. ^ Alan A. Stone (Summer 1999). "Eric Rohmer's Canvas". Boston Review. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  5. ^ Roger Ebert (August 20, 1999). "Autumn Tale". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  6. ^ "An Autumn Tale". Artificial Eye. Archived from the original on 26 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 

External links[edit]