Tale of Springtime, A (1990)

Rohmer’s decent first entry in his ‘Four Seasons’ anthology may seem bright and airy, if only to serve as a direct contrast to the undercurrents of discord and antipathy among loved ones and acquaintances. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review #2,293

Dir. Eric Rohmer
1990 | France | Comedy/Drama/Romance | 107 mins | 1.66:1 | French
Not rated – likely to be PG13 for some sexual references

Cast: Anne Teyssedre, Florence Darel, Hugues Quester, Eloise Bennett
Plot: Jeanne, a high school philosophy teacher, meets music student Natacha at a party. When Jeanne finds herself temporarily out of a place to stay, she accepts her new friend’s invitation to sleep at her apartment while her dad is away.
Awards: Official Selection (Berlinale)
Source: Les Films du Losange

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate – Relationships
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Pace: Normal
Audience Type: Slightly Arthouse

Viewed: MUBI
Spoilers: No

In the ‘90s, Eric Rohmer attempted his ‘Four Seasons’ anthology, starting with the decent A Tale of Springtime.  As almost always the case for much of his career, his stories revolve around one character meeting another by chance or intent, and the relationship soars only to be bogged down by the sometimes benign or intrusive presence of other characters close to them. 

Here we follow Jeanne (Anne Teyssedre in what appears to be her final feature film outing) who becomes acquainted with Natasha (Florence Darel) after the latter offers Jeanne her apartment for the night. 

Natasha’s father unexpectedly returns the next morning, and later his young girlfriend, Eve, joins him.  So, one becomes a pair, and a pair becomes a quartet in another of Rohmer’s incisive takes on the ever-changing dynamics of human relationships. 

“I’m fanatic about other people’s freedom, but this can degenerate into tyranny.”

While he doesn’t quite translate ‘springtime’ visually (much of the film happens indoors), the film is still bright and airy if only to serve as a direct contrast to the undercurrents of discord and antipathy among the characters. 

Philosophy particularly takes precedence in several conversational segments, with Jeanne, a philosophy teacher, defending and asserting her views against Eve, who can appear snobbish. 

It goes without saying that Natasha is perpetually antagonistic towards Eve, whom she deems has ‘stolen’ her father’s affections away from her.  The fun is to see Rohmer navigating these tensions, while rarely letting them hit the roof. 

Grade: B+



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