Eric Rohmer: A Biography

Antoine de Baecque and Noël Herpe, trans. from the French by Steven Rendall and Lisa Neal. Columbia Univ., $40 (608p) ISBN 978-0-231-17558-6
Eric Rohmer (1920–2010) was one of the most distinguished filmmakers of the French new wave, but as a person, he has remained an enigma. In this remarkably dense and absorbing biography, de Baecque (Truffaut: A Biography) and Herpe (René Clair) attempt the difficult task of unmasking Rohmer, and they succeed with aplomb. Drawing on Rohmer’s personal archives, they reveal an intensely private man, born Maurice Sherer in the central French town of Tulle, who lied about his past, assumed multiple pseudonyms, and completely concealed his career from his mother, who died without ever knowing her son was an Academy Award–nominated director. While illuminating Rohmer’s personal life, the authors also explore the intellectual pursuits and artistic methods that informed acclaimed films such as My Night at Maud’s (1969) and Claire’s Knee (1970). In less capable hands, this could be a dry read, but the authors pull off the high-wire act of appealing to both film scholars and lay readers with a combination of comprehensive research and engaging storytelling. The book will foster a renewed appreciation of a complex artist and the remarkable body of work he left behind. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2016
Release date: 06/14/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-231-54157-2
Paperback - 608 pages - 978-0-231-17559-3
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