Full Moon in Paris (1984)

“He who has two women loses his soul. He who has two houses loses his mind,”

‘Full Moon in Paris’, directed by Éric Rohmer in 1984, is a French romantic drama starring Pascale Ogier as Louise, an affluent young woman who is dating and living with a tennis star called Rémi in the suburbs of Paris, but maintains a flat in the city to escape the relationship when needed. Louise feels claustrophobic outside the city, trapped in a routine with her boyfriend. To combat this, she spends an ever increasing amount of time in the city, partying and meeting friends. When Rémi reluctantly gives his blessing to her life choice, she finds that her time in the city is more isolating than she imagined, and that the things she really craves are at home. Unfortunately, in her absence, Rémi has also found a new life that, ultimately, closes the door to her comfortable, suburban existence. It’s a film in Rohmer’s Comedies and Proverbs cycle of movies, clearly didactic with a moral at the beginning. Louise is an irritating woman and her quest for freedom is clearly quixotic, but the people around her are equally insular and self-regarding from her sulky boyfriend, to her Paris male friend who is obsessed with her and not above manipulating the situation to get close to her. The conclusion of the film, in which Louise and Rémi part should be a tragic one, but Rohmer elects to show more, and Louise is depicted almost instantly rebuilding her life not having learned anything. It’s not as joyful or profound as Rohmer’s season films such as ‘A Tale of Winter’ or ‘Autumn Tale’, but it does have the same dry and abstracted view of human relationships, at once unsatisfactory but pleasingly clinical.

Would I recommend it? I’d err towards his other movies first, but it’s worth watching if only for Ogier’s charismatic performance. Watch in a double bill with ‘My Night at Maud’s’, a male centred version of this film.

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