french films > Claire's Knee

Claire's Knee

Claire's Knee

Review score: * * * * *

cast: Jean-Claude Brialy, Aurora Cornu, Béatrice Romand

year: 1970

colour: yes


director: Eric Rohmer

runtime: 106

In Eric Rohmer's CLAIRE'S KNEE, Jerome (Jean-Claude Brialy),  a handsome diplomat on vacation in the scenic Alpine village of Talloires, is coaxed into doing a strange favour for his friend Aurora (Aurora Cornu), a novelist working on a new book. Echoing Vladimir Nabokov's novel LOLITA, in which the writer Humbert Humbert falls in love with a budding 13-year-old girl, CLAIRE'S KNEE makes Jerome the researcher for Aurora's novel about an older man who seduces a teenage girl. Jerome and Aurora create mischief together as two friends in their mid-30s who are reminded of their own sexual appetites by watching the teenage sisters Laura (Béatrice Romand) and Claire (Laurence De Monoghan) with their young boyfriends. However, when Aurora challenges Jerome to seduce Laura, he tries but fails. Instead, he develops an obsessive desire to fondle Claire's knee, a notion both ruthlessly perverse and stubbornly innocent. Rohmer's laid-back, pensive style takes in the mountainous lakeside scenery, putting the weight of the film on intimate one-on-one discussions between the characters. With artful camerawork that captures much of the movie from Jerome's motorboat, Rohmer creates one of the cornerstones of his Six Moral Tales series, a pretty film with a naughty undercurrent and a relaxed existential overtone.


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