The third entry in Eric Rohmer's “Comedies and Proverbs” series (1983, 94 min.) takes a further step in exteriority over the intimacy of the “Six Moral Tales,” borrowing a mistaken-identity plot that embroils the six major characters in the cold machinations of a conventional sex farce. Yet Rohmer subverts the callousness of the formula by suggesting that his characters are all painfully aware of the roles they have chosen to play—the Cad, the Coquette, the Romantic, etc—but can find no way of escaping them. Rohmer builds a fearsome (yet lovely) symmetry, only to construct another, softer fiction behind it; the result is a film of devastating irony and deep compassion. With Arielle Dombasle, Amanda Langlet, Feodor Atkine, and Pascal Gregory.
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