Wherein are Éric Rohmer’s “Six Moral Tales” moral?

This weekend, I finished watching Éric Rohmer’s “Six Moral Tales.” They are strangely fascinating films — very slow-paced, even verging on tedious, yet at the same time absorbing. All six follow the same basic pattern: a very cerebral man faces the dilemma of wanting to sleep with a woman and yet feeling he shouldn’t for moral reasons; he eventually sets up a situation such that he can feel good about the fact that he went with morality over desire. They lend themselves to multi-layered analysis, but I’d like to focus on what they are implicitly saying about morality as such.

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