Éric Rohmer goes out on a blissful high, and, in his quietly unexpected way, ends with a film that retroactively sets the stage for what came before. A period piece as filtered through yet another period, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon is as witty, warm and subtly masterful as anything the director ever made. The clash of classical, modern and druidic creates a formal tension dispelled in an outlandish conclusion that arrives at traditional, heteronormative fable only after passing through Sapphic petting. So much hay is made over Rohmer's political leanings, but like the conservative artists of old (Hawks, Ford), he often taps depths of contradictions with an unforced grace that eludes nearly all liberal message filmmakers.
My full review is up now at Movie Mezzanine.