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LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON

France, 1972 (MIFF 1974)

Director: Eric Rohmer

Frederick is in his thirties, is happily married and runs a small business. His wife. Helene, who teaches English at school, is expecting their second child. Frederick takes long lunch breaks, and he likes to stroll along the pavements imagining that he is irresistible to the women who pass by. This routine fantasy, however, is disrupted by the appearance one day of Chloe. the former mistress of a friend. She begins to visit him regularly at the office, talking to him about her promiscuous life and her problems as, a nightclub hostess, and then a waitress.

Increasingly, Frederick becomes attracted to her; he lies to his wife in order to help Chloe find a new job. But at the last moment she cancels their appointment to go off with another man. Frederick is furious at his feelings of jealousy, but Chloe re-appears and resumes her afternoon meetings. When she tells him she loves him and wants to bear his child. Frederick lells her he is in love with Helene. Calling to lunch with Chloe. he finds her naked and is almost seduced. but finally rushes home to his wife.

'. . . Rohmer achieves a perfect correlation of moral and physical worlds, so that every detail - from the office routines to the diverse bustle of activity which so fascinates Frederick in the Paris streets - becomes part of a universal alternative of freedom and stability, choice and chance.'

Jan Dawson, Monthly Film Bulletin

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