Derik Badman's Journal

2021-04-07 08:31

Two days ago, while taking a rare walk in the part behind our house, I found a dead fox just off the path. No doubt, one of the ones we saw frequently in the yard last year, less frequently since. I can't tell what happened (I'm not getting too close), but it wasn't long ago. I've been writing an epitaph for that fox, because I felt I needed to express something.

Janus Films is releasing remastered versions of all four of Eric Rohmer's "Tales of the Four Seasons" series. (They will all be (or already are) available online from Film Forum.) I think they are my favorite of his movies. I watched A Tale of Winter the other day. Rohmer was quite religious (Catholic), though it doesn't come up explicitly in his films very often (My Night at Maud's being a major exception). A Tale of Winter does have a strong element of faith in it, despite the protagonist herself claming to not be particularly religious. In the prologue of the film, we see her on vacation meeting a young man, falling in love, and a whole montage of them together, until they must part as she heads home and he goes off to America. She accidentally gives him a wrong address, and he, being in the process of moving, doesn't have one to give. In the age before cell phones this means they lose touch. The majority of the film takes place 5 years later where we quickly learn she had gotten pregnant, never got in touch with the man again, and now has a young daughter and two boyfriends. The movie primarily revolves around her keeping faith that the father of her daughter is the only man she can really truly love, and that despite loving the two boyfriends it's just not enough for her to settle for either.

And then, as these things go in stories, she accidentally runs into the father on a bus. It's a wonderful scene. Rohmer shoots from behind her shoulder as she and her daughter sit down on the bus, and we can see the man in the seat facing her. You identify him before she does. She is getting her daughter and her bags situated. It's kind of the reverse of a suspenseful shot in a thriller where you see the danger before the protagonist. We see the miracle of coincidence, accident, or her faith first. The man recognizes her, and you see the shock and delight on his face. Then the shot cuts to showing her and her daughter from the front as we anticipate her looking up and finally seeing him. The whole scene is great and quite moving.

Finished up Warlock before bed last night. I forgot how downbeat the ending is compared to the movie version, though it shouldn't surprise me. The protagonists all end up dead or alone. One of the cowboys that causes trouble throughout the story, but kind of gets forgotten about as other problems take center stage (like a miner's strike, which I think gets short shrift in the movie (of course)), ends up killing the main deputy as a kind of afterthought in a summary narration in the afterward. All the concern the deputy had earlier dealing with other problems, and he ends up killed by the guy who from the beginning hated him.