A director at the crossroads of the arts, Éric Rohmer took a keen interest in the urban transformations France underwent in the course of the twentieth century, in particular the post-war villes nouvelles project launched by the Gaullist government in 1965. In a programmatic article on the relationship between cinema and architecture, followed by a series of television documentaries from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as two feature films — Les Nuits de la pleine lune (1984) and L’Ami de mon amie (1987) — the director interrogates the new types of urban living proposed by progressive architects and town planners. Focusing on the intersection between his theoretical writings, his little-known documentaries, and his fictional work, this article assesses Rohmer’s ambivalent attitude towards modern architecture in the wider context of the tension between classicism and modernity evidenced in his aesthetics and creative practice. As cautious of the functional modernism of a Le Corbusier as he is of postmodern housing schemes, the director offers a probing reflection on the relationship between the built environment and lived experience, framed by a broader questioning of cinema’s place among its more established sister arts.


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pp. 345-362
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