Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Éric Rohmer

I had the marvelous luck to start my film career with Éric Rohmer, in Perceval le Gallois. Of the directors who made up France's new wave, he was the master. When you enter a theater and a Rohmer film is on the screen, you right away know that it's his. I appeared in a number of his films, and as part of his process, we spent a lot of time not rehearsing lines but just talking about literature, painting, music, everything — the sort of things people talk about in an éric Rohmer movie, those digressions that are like life. The secret, though, is that all our dialogue was extremely precise, although it seems completely spontaneous onscreen. With Rohmer, every comma was written.

When he became sick, I sneaked into his hospital one snowy night. He was staying under another name, but a nurse recognized me and let me in. He couldn't speak, but he could write, and we exchanged a few words. He died a few hours later. I thank God that I had the chance to tell him how much he mattered to me.

Arielle Dombasle

Dombasle is an actress and a singer