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Claire’s Knee (1970, Jean-Claude Brialy, Laurence de Monaghan)



A touching and funny fable on human weakness from French director Eric Rohmer.

A diplomat (Brialy), on holiday by the Italian Lake Annecy, is persuaded by a friend to indulge in a little light flirting with his landlady’s daughter before he goes off and gets married. However, the daughter isn’t interested and he transfers his attention to her half-sister, who is less attractive, but possessed of a knee that fascinates him.

This is the fifth and most accessible of Rohmer’s morality tales. He explores every nuance of his characters’ conversations (they do a lot of talking) and gestures to create an illusion of intellectualism, while not ignoring the dirty old man potential of the subject matter. In this he’s helped enormously by Brialy, who manages to suggest a very knowing lust alongside an innocent bewilderment.

production details
France | 105 minutes | 1970

Writer and Director: Eric Rohmer
Producer: Pierre Cottrell
Cinematography: Nestor Almendros

Jean-Claude Brialy as Jerome
Aurora Cornu as Aurora
Béatrice Romand as Laura
Laurence de Monaghan as Claire
Michèle Montel as Madame Walter
Gérard Falconetti as Gilles
Fabrice Luchini as Vincent