Veronica and Her Dunce (1958) Poster

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6/10
VERONICA AND HER DUNCE (Eric Rohmer, 1958) **1/2
Bunuel197624 January 2010
Slight, atypical (being closer to Truffaut in its look at a mischievous lonely boy) but likable 18-minute short from Rohmer. The plot could not be simpler, what with a single setting (the dining-room of a flat) and only 3 characters (the child, his mother and his young female guardian). The latter overlooks the kid's studies during afternoons while his mum is away on some errand, asking her to be severe if necessary. Anyway, after a few tantrums, 'tutor' and student settle down to work at some arithmetic problems – but logic soon leads to confusion, and she cannot quite explain to him how to get at the requisite answer except that that is the way it should be done! Next, they tackle composition and she has a hard time convincing him on the need to elaborate with respect to a typical Thursday morning's activities – since one simply thinks about doing something and as such does not require further explanation! When the girl leaves, he is not yet ready and the mother has still not returned; though the boy assures her he will keep working on the essay, he takes to playing with his ball as soon as she exits. Enjoyable on the surface but full of often sardonic insight about methods of upbringing and teaching in the modern world.
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7/10
I'm not sure he was a dunce
Red-1253 August 2020
The French short film Véronique et son cancre (1958) was shown in the U.S. with the translated title Véronique and her Dunce. It was written and directed by Éric Rohmer.

Nicole Berger stars as Véronique, who has been hired to tutor a young boy (portrayed by Alain Delrieu). I don't think the boy was a dunce. I think that he didn't care about school, and he would have needed a really talented tutor to engage him in his schoolwork.

Unfortunately, Véronique doesn't appear to be that person. She wasn't skilled enough to arouse any academic interest in the boy, and she acted ill at ease as a tutor. Not a good combination.

We saw this film as a special feature in the Criterion Collection version of Rohmer's Love in the Afternoon. The short has an anemic IMDb rating of 6.7. I thought that was about right and rated it 7.
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