A Tale of Winter (1992)
May 2, 2023 11:55 AM - Subscribe

Five years after losing touch with a summer fling, a woman has difficulty choosing between her two suitors.

Felicie and Charles have a whirlwind holiday romance. Due to a mix-up on addresses they lose contact, and five years later at Christmas-time Felicie is living with her mother in a cold Paris with a daughter as a reminder of that long-ago summer. For male companionship she oscillates between hairdresser Maxence and the intellectual Loic, but seems unable to commit to either as the memory of Charles and what might have been hangs over everything.

Roger Ebert: Felicie, played by Charlotte Very, is absorbed by her own case. She knows she will never love anyone the way she loves the absent Charles. The film reveals that Charles never wrote because she stupidly gave him the wrong address. Rohmer tells her story in the way it might unfold in real life, and it's typical that he gives us a scene where Felicie seems to be following somebody out of a Metro station, but we never get a shot of who she is following (here he neatly skewers the cliche of the mistaken lookalike). He makes us wait for her to mention casually that she thinks she might have seen Charles in the street. Rohmer also bides his time before establishing that both Maxence and Loic know all about Charles--and about each other. This is not a love triangle because the only man she loves is the one who isn't there.

Kathy Fennessy: Five years later, Félicie, a creature of instinct, is a single mother torn between young librarian Loïc (Herve Furic), a bookish Catholic, and middle-aged salon owner Maxence (Michel Voletti), a passionate if sloppy lover. Neither satisfies her needs, largely because she hasn't gotten over Charles.

Not counting the endearing fashions of the period, like wispy bangs and shoulder pads, Félicie's search for perfection belongs to any era, and it can fuck women up, but that doesn't mean they should settle. And Félicie doesn't. Instead, she finds the solution to her dilemma, not in literature or religion—but on a bus ride through the city. recommended

Hal Hinson: Felicie is one of Rohmer's strongest characters in years. Stubborn, willful, and petulantly self-centered, she is a tremendous pain, going where she likes and hurting whomever she pleases. For most of the picture, her blather about Charles seems to spring from some neurotic delusion designed to protect herself from getting involved with the people in front of her.

Still, she believes with her whole heart that Charles longs for her just the same as she longs for him, and knows just as surely that their love was special. Their daughter is proof. In almost every aspect, Felicie is an ordinary woman; only by clinging to this love is she distinguished. Her lover may or may not ever appear, but, in the end, the longing itself becomes heroic. And ultimately, of greater importance than even the lover. Rohmer's "A Tale of Winter" is like a minimalist short story, measured, nuanced and rich with intimations. It's a small work, but nearly perfect.

posted by Carillon (1 comment total)
A great movie. I enjoyed the Very performance, she was very believable, and while her sudden jumps, and bluntness could have annoyed, I think both her acting and the direction have a deft hand in making it sympathetic. I was excited right at the end with the meeting on the bus when it looked like he had built a different life, I thought it would have been interesting to explore that, instead of him immediately just fitting into her life, but even that wasn't bad.
posted by Carillon at 12:03 PM on May 2, 2023

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