The Tree, the Mayor, and the Media Center

105 minutes 1993

What a pity that one of Eric Rohmer's best features should have fallen between the cracks and never received a U.S. release. This conservative comedy of manners (1993) concerns a provincial mayor (Pascal Greggory) who gets a government grant to build a media center, and the film's gentle mockery of the socialist politician, some of it articulated by his own mistress (Arielle Dombasle), shows how Rohmer must have influenced Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, The Last Days of Disco). Yet Rohmer exceeds even Stillman's audacity by turning this wry fable into a musical in its closing minutes; nothing he does here is predictable, yet in retrospect it all seems logical and balanced. With Fabrice Luchini.

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