January 11th, 2010
02:48 PM ET

French New Wave pioneer Eric Rohmer dead

Eric Rohmer, who directed such art-house classics as "Claire's Knee" and "Love in the Afternoon," has died, according to news reports. He was 89.

Rohmer was one of a group of filmmakers, including Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, who created what came to be called "La Nouvelle Vague," the New Wave, French films dominated by jump cuts, hand-held cameras, and a love for Hollywood genres such as film noir. Rohmer - who was born Maurice Henri Joseph Schérer - Truffaut and Godard all wrote for Cahiers du Cinema, the publication that became their manifesto.

But while Godard's films embraced the experimental - sometimes to the point of antagonizing the audience - and Truffaut's showed a love for old Hollywood styles, Rohmer's were often about relationships between small casts of characters, men and women trying to cope with sexual temptation, sometimes with drily comic results.

(For some, too much so: "Kind of like watching paint dry," was what a Gene Hackman character once said of Rohmer's talky films. Editor's note: The previous sentence originally said Hackman said the line, not his "Night Moves" character. We regret the error.)

The filmmaker was beloved by colleagues for his youthful attitude and warm friendships.

Rohmer's other films included "My Night at Maud's," "Pauline at the Beach" and "The Duke and the Lady."

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Ahhh. "Love in the Afternoon." Truly beautiful. Thanks, Mr. Rohmer.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chris

    Rohmer was a great director. Hackman has made some films that really should have been left unmade (Superman 4:QUest for Peace, and that aweful film he made with Dan Ackroyd where they played two escape mental paitents.

    Pauline At the Beach was a great film, and proved that you don't need action action action all the time. Want an example of a director who ruins films with too much action? Michael Bay.

    January 12, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Drew

    So true Reuben. Hollywood has so much but presents so little.

    January 12, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Debra R


    January 12, 2010 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steve

    This is a poorly researched and misleading article. As the previous poster pointed out, it was Gene Hackman's character in "Night Moves," and not Hackman himself, that made the comment about Rohmer. Also, the title of the third film in the final sentence is "The Lady and the Duke," not "The Duke and the Lady." Finally, the article implies that Rohmer's films are full of "jump cuts" and "hand-held cameras." This is a cliche often used to describe the New Wave (it is true about Godard's and Truffaut's early films), but it does not describe Rohmer's aesthetic at all.

    January 12, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. jacques


    January 11, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Reuben Roman

    He will be missed....modern day cinema may dazzle us with amazing special effects but films like the ones Rohmer crafted for us to devour forced us to question, to examine, to be critical of life and all of its intricacies.

    January 11, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patrick Brown

    Hackman's character in "Night Moves" said it, not Hackman himself. Way to do your research.

    January 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |

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