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Unseen in Toronto for almost two decades, Eric Rohmer's marvellously funny and movingly humane comedy chronicles a young woman's desperate search for a companion to share her summer vacation in the south of France.
"Rohmer's ultimate masterwork" (Andrew Sarris) and one of our great favourites, Le Rayon vert has not been seen in Toronto since our Rohmer retrospective almost two decades ago. The phrase toute seule (all alone) echoes throughout Rayon, as Delphine (Marie Rivière), desperately searching for a companion to share her summer vacation, shuttles weepily between Paris and Cherbourg, its Demy harbour now inhabited by oil rigs and ghastly marinas; a mountain resort she immediately abandons; a crowded beach at Biarritz. Rohmer captures with stinging acuity the anguish of the unattached in a culture centred on le couple. Rivière's Delphine is a classic Rohmer type: a bit of a pill, thin with a frizzy nimbus of hair, oblivious and self-defeating in her pursuit of love and awareness. When Delphine attempts to explain her vegetarianism at an al fresco table piled with roast pork — "I like to aerate myself," she exclaims to her balking hosts — Rohmer's intent camera yields her no leeway as she expounds on her kinship with lettuce. The tone could be merciless, but under Rohmer's ironic, affectionate gaze, Delphine achieves a kind of neurotic splendour. "Five stars! Now here's a summer movie to get excited about" (Time Out New York).