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The Baker of Monceau  
Eric Rohmer
1963 || 23 mins

A young man (Barbet Schroeder) studying in Paris is attracted to a woman he sees every day in the street, but he does not have the courage to speak to her. With a friend’s encouragement he finally approaches her, but soon after she disappears and he spends part of every day in the same area hoping to meet her again. During his search he begins the habit of stopping in a local bakery to buy a pastry. Soon he begins a flirtation with a girl who works there and they plan a date together. But then, on the day of the date, he meets the missing woman that he was searching for, and the girl in the bakery is forgotten.

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Film Guide

After the indifferent response to his first feature Le Signe du Lion (1959), Eric Rohmer embarked on an ambitious plan to make six films all based around a common theme and a similar plot. The first of these La Boulangere de Monceau established the basic premise of the series: a young man committed to one woman is tempted by the attractions of a second woman and must decide between them.

The narrator tells most of the film retrospectively. According to Rohmer: “My intention was not to film raw events, but the narrative that someone makes of them. The story, the choice of facts, their organization... not the treatment that I could have made them submit to. One of the reasons that these Tales are called "Moral" is that physical actions are almost completely absent: everything happens in the head of the narrator.

Made on a low budget, the film was shot on 16mm black and white and is only twenty minutes long, however it sets the tone and style of the series. Rohmer’s strict adherence to realism convinced him to only film during the time and in the place that the film was set. There was no use of sets, no artificial lighting and no non-diegetic music, only what was played in the background as part of the setting.

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