If nothing else, Eric Rohmer's The Romance of Astrea and Celadon raises many interesting questions about the nature of the auteur theory and film canons in general. Rohmer is a certified auteur, and a world master. He has made many, many good films and a few great ones, especially when adding entries to his three celebrated series: "Six Moral Tales" (in the 1960s and 1970s), "Comedies and Proverbs" (six films in the 1980s) and "Tales of the Four Seasons" (in the 1990s).

These films, which often have a relaxed, al fresco quality, mainly focus on young, smart, attractive contemporary French people who talk a lot get themselves into romantic situations. When he departs from this successful formula, as with his last two films, The Lady and the Duke (2001) and Triple Agent (2004), the results are considerably less. So when a filmmaker like Rohmer makes something as blatantly, painfully awful as The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, it brings such ideas into sharp relief.