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The fourth in writer-director Eric Rohmer's "Comedies and Proverbs" series, Full Moon in Paris, like all his earlier comedies, is an enjoyably witty creation with an unashamedly literate script, studded with quotable epigrams. What is surprising is the film's austerity and underlying pathos.

Louise lives in the Paris suburbs with her athletic lover Remi, but feels the need to establish a separate residence in Paris so she can pursue a more active social life than Remi wants. There is friction over this issue but the couple reach an agreement, although it is apparent their relationship is not destined to last for much longer. Meanwhile Louise's friend Octave, a writer, although happily married, will not accept the fact that Louise does not wish to sleep with him.

During the winter, Louise fulfils her desire to spend more time in Paris. But while her social life becomes more active, she must watch as her friends (including Remi) drift away into other romantic entanglements.

The tone and setting of Full Moon in Paris are markedly different from those of Pauline at the Beach, the Rohmer film which preceded this one. The humour is less playful and good natured, and the Paris which Rohmer surrounds his heroine with is anything but gay. It is a cold, anaemic-looking city, covered in the blues and greys of the new metro, and Rohmer uses his characters and props like Bresson: sparingly, but to devastating effect The dazzling verbal wit is underpinned with a melancholia that almost verges on despair.