While Aegeus (Eric Rohmer) has always been a sickly young man suffering
from monomania, his beautiful cousin Bérénice (Teresa Gratia) has always
been life itself. At first, Aegeus knows little to do with her, until she
suffers an epileptic fit. This draws him to her, and before long he
proposes to, and she wills in. Then one night, Bérénice enters his
darkened room, and he sees nothing of her but her teeth ... and becomes
obsessed with them, reducing the girl to her teeth even in retrospect.
Then she dies from an especially strong epileptic seizure ... and the
night after her burial, Aegeus opens her grave and pulls out all her teeth
for safekeeping, obviously having given in totally to the madness he has
suffered from all his life.
A very early short by Eric Rohmer,
this one has no on-screen sound but is carried by an off-screen narrator,
following the words of Edgar Allan Poe rather closely, accompanied by
music. Meanwhile, the on-screen goings-on are rich on atmosphere and make
the (physical and mental) illness that permeates Poe's story (as well as
much of his oeuvre) very palpable and suitable creepy. All in all, more a
mood piece than an all-out horror short - but that really fits the story.