The Girl at the Monceau Bakery and Suzanne's Career
Director: Eric Rohmer
Year Released: 1963
The first two pictures of Rohmer's (loosely-defined) Moral Tales series are shorter in length than his later films and much more crude in construction, but show the filmmaker had developed his voice early on in his career. In The Girl at the Monceau Bakery, it's Barbet Schroeder (in my view, a very underrated filmmaker) manipulating the title female only to ditch her at the last minute for the one woman he'd been eyeing and following around for a while: it shows the tenacity of men to get the girl of their dreams and abruptly cut-off those on the fringe. The film itself is just as crude to the poor bakery girl as Schroeder's character, quite literally 'cutting' her part from the movie once she outlives her usefulness. Suzanne's Career involves two men and the 'poor' title woman, who they perceive to be a pushover but proves to be quite cunning. The cutting in this one is abrupt as well - it runs about an hour but feels rushed in parts, almost as if Rohmer was running out of film stock and needed to hurry up. The insight into human interaction is impressive and after all these years I've consistently wondered exactly how many lovers Rohmer had in his lifetime to draw this kind of material from so consistently, or if he's the kind of guy who mines others for their stories and creatively twists details here and there.