Eric Rohmer Penelope Houston

Start Your Free Trial

Download Eric Rohmer Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Penelope Houston

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Rohmer's reluctance to dramatise gives Le Signe du Lion a sticky opening and a slightly muffed conclusion. But in the long central section the method not only justifies itself but creates the film. The maddening snatches of overheard conversations; the half-hearted attempts at stealing a bun or a packet of biscuits; the long passages in which the American simply sits, walks, fiddles with bits of string tying up a broken shoe, are not weighted or fictionalised…. They give the feeling of being filmed as they happen; and they happen to a man whose own reaction time is being slowed down by aimlessness as much as by starvation. The twist at the end … seems too tidy an ironic device for a film otherwise so resolutely (and sometimes amusingly) unstressed.

Penelope Houston, "'Le Signe du lion' and 'The Season for Love'," in Sight and Sound (copyright © 1966 by The British Film Institute), Vol. 35, No. 4, Autumn, 1966, p. 199.∗