A 1970 film by French director and writer Éric Rohmer, it is the fifth movie in the series of his famous Six Moral Tales.
“A diplomat Jerôme on holidays, on the verge of getting married, encounters two young girls, 16 years old Laura and her step-sister, 18 years old Claire. During three weeks, he will try to seduce them in order to prove to himself that he is ready for marriage and cannot fall in love with another woman”
The movie is praised as a delicate and precious work of art through character’s conversations and interactions. I just wish I knew French so I could under the delicacy of the movie better.
Lake Annecy, France
The film was taken by the Lake Annecy, the 2nd largest lake in France. I have never been to France, it however,remind me of the Lake Winnipesaukee, the biggest lake in New Hampshire, my favorite destination during summer, where another great movie The Golden Pond (金色池塘) was taken.
Cinematography of the lake and the French Alps in the summer time is luscious in this movie. The color palette in the film is a masterpiece of style and scheme, just like Monet’s painting. Watching the movie made me get into the European mood and yearn for a nice summer vacation there.
Before I watched the movie, I stared at the title and wondering what on earth did the "knee" to do with this movie. Well, it is because Jerôme is hopelessly attracted to Claire's knee. "Every woman has her vulnerable point. For some, it is the nape of the neck, the waist, the hands. For Claire, in that position, in that light, it was her knee." He says so.
Baring her knee on a ladder under a blooming cherry tree, Claire unwittingly instigates Jerôme’s moral crisis and creates both one of French cinema’s most enduring moments and what has become the iconic image of Rohmer’s Moral Tales.
The movie contains Claire's knee snap shots in different positions. Can you see anything extraordinary here? I see nothing but skinny legs. Finally, Jerôme fulfilled his yearnings by placing his hand upon Claire's knee. LOL!
Let's take a further look at this movie's wardrobe. The setting of the movie laid the tone of the wardrobe: basically countryside, vacation mood, casual, European and rich upper class look.
Everybody wears hats in this movie. Maybe it is because of being on vacation, maybe being French? Anyway, the hats look great here.
Girls and their dresses:
The girls are indeed very pretty. Laura is clever, slyly sophisticated, vulnerable and honest. In contrast Claire is a long-legged blond, superficial beauty.
The wardrobe for Laura is simple, boyish, just right for a 16 year old girl and her character: the button decoration on the black skirt is kinda unique; the yellow sweater and short pant with black knee sock are very nice for hiking in a sunny day; love the simple red sweater dress with belt - a casual holiday look; they sunbath by the lake in front of the boardinghouse all the time. Aren't you jealous?!
No wonder Jerôme was immediately attracted by Claire as soon as they met even though he just showed affection to Laura. He can't move his eyes from her. Claire, as Laura's elder sister, is more mature, feminine and a bit distant:
First, it is this turquoise bikini that exposes her perfect skinny figure:
Then she threw on a matching color hat and a navy knit cover-up effortlessly and beautifully:
This blue mini dress with matching hat is absolutely adorable! Here also comes my favorite part of the movie - a perfect description of tranquil country life, with mom reading in the yard and children picking cherries. I can't help but recall when I was a kid, my mom used to climb to the big date tree to pick dates for us in our country house yard with my grandmother shouting at her because she didn't use a ladder. And I stood under the tree facing the sky and waiting for my mom to throw me the biggest ripe dates. How much I miss those old times with my folks! My mom was very young and energetic back then and my father always called her a monkey. (Here, I wish my mom will recover soon, very soon...)
Claire and her boyfriend, a very sweet young couple: preppy tennis outfits, folklore pattern print party dress and shirt... they do like match-matchy - so cute!
A simple black dress with a golden belt and long necklace: fabulous with or without a white jacket.
Claire’s mom is a stylish, sophisticated, rich French lady and a career woman:
And last, Jerôme’s female writer friend, a romantic yet intellectual woman: