Series and Repetition

To the extant that these fictions work through a limited number of motifs, they pointedly critique the notion according to which true filmmakers are those who refuse to repeat themselves. For Rohmer, the art of the film director lies not in the search for new subjects, genres, or tones but in orchestrating now subtle, now overt effects of similarity and difference. The challenge is to find an equilibrium between content and form such that the return of motifs is not confused with sterile repetition or the mere application of a rule along neo-classical lines. As the director remarked upon completing Contes des quatres saisons [Tales of Four Seasons]:

What’s to be avoided is confining oneself to any one manner. And paradoxically working within a series keeps that from happening. Since my stories are more or less alike, I have to seek variety elsewhere.

Schilling, Derek. Eric Rohmer (Manchester UP, 2007), 159.

This relates in some ways to the theory of constraint. By limiting oneself in certain areas, one is forced to be innovative, or at least variable, in other areas.