The late Eric Rohmer had a knack for investing soap-opera configurations—love triangles, extramarital affairs—with complexity and surprise. In its outlines, A Tale of Winter, part of his Tales of the Four Seasons tetralogy, is the soapiest of all (it falls between 1990's A Tale of Springtime and 1996's A Summer's Tale).

He starts by introducing Charles (Frédéric van den Driessche) and Félicie (Charlotte Véry, who recalls a pre-Terminator Linda Hamilton) while they are enjoying a summer idyll, but it's a bit of a fake-out. When fall arrives, they return to their lives, but due to a mix-up, they lose touch.

Five years later, FĂ©licie, a creature of instinct, is a single mother torn between young librarian LoĂŻc (Herve Furic), a bookish Catholic, and middle-aged salon owner Maxence (Michel Voletti), a passionate if sloppy lover. Neither satisfies her needs, largely because she hasn't gotten over Charles.

Not counting the endearing fashions of the period, like wispy bangs and shoulder pads, Félicie's search for perfection belongs to any era, and it can fuck women up, but that doesn't mean they should settle. And Félicie doesn't. Instead, she finds the solution to her dilemma, not in literature or religion—but on a bus ride through the city. recommended