Comedies and Proverbs: Eric Rohmer’s Boyfriends and Girlfriends (1987)
The sixth film in Eric Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series, Boyfriends and Girlfriends is a beautiful tale of friendship and relationships. Beginning in 1981 with La femme de l’aviateur (The Aviator’s Wife) and continuing with Le beau mariage (A Good Marriage, 1982), Pauline à la plage (Pauline at the Beach, 1983), Les nuits de la pleine lune (Full Moon in Paris, 1984), and Le rayon vert (The Green Ray, 1986), the comedies and proverbs series revolve around similar themes and explore the lives and loves of twenty-something protagonists.
Boyfriends and Girlfriends is based on the proverb my friend’s friend is my friend. This is more evident in the original French title L'Ami de mon amie. The meaning becomes slightly lost in translation and the UK title is therefore misleading as a result. The film follows the lives of several young people living in a newly developed urban suburb on the outskirts of Paris. Blanche (portrayed by Emmanuelle Chaulet in an outstanding debut) befriends Lea (Sophie Renoir) on one of her lunch breaks and the two form a close friendship. We are then introduced to Alexandre and Fabien and what follows is a chaotic portrayal of their romantic endeavours and friendships, as all of their lives become entangled.
Shot in colourful blue and green hues by DP Bernard Lutic, Rohmer beautifully plays with colour, carefully selecting costumes and using colours to match the tone of each scene. This is especially realised in the final scene when Blanche and Lea wear matching outfits with that of their love interests. Rohmer uses colour to paint his tale and to echo the moods of each individual character. Watching Rohmer films was once described as 'like watching paint dry.' It is easy to understand why this is the case for certain audiences and ultimately has become an accurate compliment of his work. Rohmer so wonderfully depicts slices of life that are often relatable and underappreciated and Boyfriends and Girlfriends is Rohmer at his finest. Here he has carefully decorated and painted his masterpiece for us to devour.