|Directed by||Éric Rohmer|
|Produced by||Barbet Schroeder|
|Written by||Éric Rohmer|
|Edited by||Éric Rohmer|
Suzanne's Career is a 1963 film by Éric Rohmer. The original French title is La Carrière de Suzanne. It is the second movie in the series of the Six Moral Tales. A flirty Guillaume seduces a woman named Suzanne, which becomes problematic to his friendship with the shy Bertrand, especially when Guillaume's and Suzanne's relationship becomes strained.
Two young students in Paris, Bertrand who is timid, young, and in pharmacy school and his brash friend Guillaume, who is something of a womanizer, encounter the independent and articulate Suzanne in a café. Guillaume flirts with her using his wit and charm to seduce her. She quickly succumbs to Guillaume's coarse advances but after bedding her he is rapidly bored with her, however, continues to lead her on despite his complaining and flirting with other women.
Bertrand believes that Suzanne must have no self-respect in order to let herself be treated poorly by Guillaume but remains silent and continues to further Guillaume's antics. In an effort to regain Guillaume's attention, Suzanne cultivates an interest in the austere Bertrand, spending what little money she has on him. Bertrand ends up despising her even more after he and Guillaume ruin Suzanne financially. Throughout the entire movie, Bertrand has developed a crush on her prettier Irish friend Sophie. After a party, Suzanne has no money to get home so Bertrand reluctantly says she can sleep in the chair in his room. He means this literally, taking the bed himself for he had an exam in the morning. The next day he returns to his room to escort out the sleeping Suzanne only to find money missing from his room. Bertrand blames Suzanne, even though both Suzanne and Guillaume had a chance to take the money, but Sophie thinks it more likely he was robbed earlier by Guillaume.
A year later, when Bertrand is swimming with Sophie, they meet Suzanne with her new fiancé who is handsome, well-off and charming, which is everything she wanted to find in Guillaume but did not succeed. The two are really happy together and Bertrand has to admit that all along he had misjudged Suzanne and whether it was purposeful or not, she won because she took away any right he had to pity her and in the end, he claims that to be the best kind of revenge.
- Catherine Sée: Suzanne Hocquetot
- Christian Charrière: Guillaume Peuch-Drumond
- Philippe Beuzen: Bertrand, the narrator
- Diane Wilkinson: Sophie
- Jean-Claude Biette: Jean-Louis
- Patrick Bauchau: Frank
- Pierre Cottrell: the art lover/party guest
- Jean-Louis Comolli: party guest
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This film takes place in a time that lived in turmoil due to the Cold War and the Algerian War. The Algerian War was a fight for independence and for the people's rights from its colonial patron, France, where the film takes place. France believed that Algeria was "an integral part of France" that should remain intact with the country, however, the World Wars and the Vietnamese people's victory at Dien Bien Phu showed the Algerians that they could obtain their freedom using their nationalism and the Front de Libération National. This affected France as it lost many men fighting this eventual lost cause to the French and also ended France's era of imperialism.
While this decolonization movement was occurring, a global crisis also hung over France's head: the Cold War. The Cold War was a time of military and political tensions between two superpower countries that had emerged from World War II: The United States and the Soviet Union. Even though this war was not directly fought with France, it still affected every country in the world as they spread their respective spheres of influence politically and economically. The United States feared communism and any ideology surrounding it and the Soviet Union was scared of the power of the United States in its ability to build the atomic bomb. These tensions led to the Cold War manifesting itself into an arms race then evolving to a race to spread the most influence on the world and thus interference in the many decolonization movements that followed World War II. Although the two superpowers did not interfere much in the Algerian War, the spreading of their spheres of influence affected the world.
Finally, the last important historical background to know is the women's movement as it affected many countries in different ways. In the United States, the women's movement was revived around the 1960s when many of the other movements of the period came to exist (Civil Rights, Vietnam protests, etc.), however, as a part of Europe, after World War II, women became more integrated in the public sphere by obtaining jobs and political influence. This affected France as many women entered the workforce and like one sees in the film, Suzanne has a full-time job (until she quits) and is considered to be quite independent (she lives without family or a husband and does whatever when she pleases).
- Maran, Rita. "Algerian War." In Encyclopedia of Human Rights. : Oxford University Press, 2009. http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195334029.001.0001/acref-9780195334029-e-4.
- Hunt, Michael. The World Transformed:1945 to the Present. Bedford/St.Martin's, 2004, 290-292.
- McCormack, Jo. Collective Memory: France and the Algerian War (1954-1962). Lexington Books, 2007.
- Winkler, Allan. The Cold War: A History in Documents. Oxford University Press, 2000.
- Gaddis, John. The Cold War: A New History. The Penguin Press, 2005.
- Hunt, Michael. The World Transformed: 1945 to the Present. Bedford/St.Martin's, 2004, 111–144.
- Flexnor, Eleanor and Fitzpatrick, Ellen. Century of Struggle. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996.