03 October 2010

Penn and Rohmer

Strange that directors Eric Rohmer and Arthur Penn should die within months of each other, because there is a famous cinematic cross-reference between them.  In the 1975 thriller 'Night Moves', directed by Penn, the Gene Hackman character has the following immortal line:

I saw a Rohmer film once; it was kinda like watchin' paint dry.

Of course this was a backhanded compliment because Penn was heavily influenced by the French New Wave directors like Rohmer.  In fact, this influence is what makes 'Night Moves' such an interesting film.  I remember, when I was sixteen, seeing it in the local cinema one Wednesday night when I should have been studying.  My universe was expanded - I could not quite understand it all and this is why I was so excited.  Maybe the best art stimulates desire rather than satisfying it.

Anyway, I don't know if Rohmer and Penn ever met in this life but if they should meet on some astral plane, I can imagine the former punching the latter's nose ... affectionately.

You can watch Hackman deliver the line (as only he could) by clicking on the this link:


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