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My Night at Maud's (1969)

Ma nuit chez Maud (original title)
The rigid principles of a devout Catholic man are challenged during a one-night stay with Maud, a divorced woman with an outsize personality.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Guy Léger ...
Preacher
Anne Dubot ...
Blonde Friend
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Storyline

The narrator (Jean-Louis), a devout Catholic, moves to a provincial town and vows to marry Francoise, a pretty blond he notices at mass. Vidal, an old school friend, invites him to visit the recently divorced Maud, and the narrator ends up staying the night, having philosophical discussions in her bedroom. Next morning the narrator engineers a meeting with Francoise. Written by Will Gilbert

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

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PG | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

22 March 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

My Night at Maud's  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, it was nominated under the title "My Night with Maud" because at the time it had no US distributor. See more »

Goofs

When Trintignant accepts to climb into bed with Fabian, he motions for her to pass him the blanket, extending his right hand holding a lit cigarette. The next shot from the side shows him grasping the blanket with a cigarette-free right hand. See more »

Quotes

Jean-Louis: As a Christian I say it's evil not to acknowledge what is good.
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Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Romer at his most conversational
16 May 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The heart has it reasons which reason knows nothing of." --Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

This is the Eric Romer film they warned you about. There is a lot of talk, talk, and more talk. But the talk is very interesting. One of the main topics of discussion is Pascal's famous wager. Pascal believed that if there is even the slightest chance of the Christian heaven being true, then as a matter of probability, one ought to be a believer. Even a minuscule chance of everlasting paradise is worth the bet because infinity (eternity) times even a very small number is infinity. And, of course, if not believing puts one in however small the danger of eternal damnation, then again one should be a believer. But, as Vidal (Antoine Vitez) sagely remarks in the movie, infinity times zero is still zero.

Jean-Louis Trintignant stars as a 34-year-old Catholic mathematician who has a way with women. He runs into his old school chum, Vidal, who introduces him to Maud (Francoise Fabian), who has a way with men. Funny but they don't quite hit it off even though she manipulates him into spending the night with her. Their conversation is witty, subliminal and revealing. Maud believes in the supremacy of love, Jean-Louis in being morally flexible. Although a believing and practicing Catholic, he tells Maud that one is not going against God's will by chasing girls anymore than one is going against God's will by doing mathematics.

The girl that Jean-Louis is currently chasing is 22-year-old Francoise (Maire-Christine Barrault) a blonde, Catholic girl that he has spied at church. At first it seems that although he is certain that she is perfect for him, she is reluctant. They too fence with words as they try to mislead and reveal at the same time, and the audience is intrigued, so much so that at times you might forget you are watching a movie. In this sense a Romer film is like a stage play. Whereas contemporary directors try to get by with as little dialogue as possible, to let the action itself reveal character, Romer is not shy about using dialogue to reveal character, plot, theme--the whole works.

The film begins with a long close shot of Francoise's profile as she listens in church, turning twice briefly to face the camera. She is pretty and intriguing. Although we won't realize it until the movie is mostly over, she is the focal point of the balance between the world views of Jean-Louis and Maud. After the night at Maud's during which Maud uses her intuition and sly intelligence to figure out Jean-Louis's character, he spends the night with Francoise. She uses her instincts to figure out not his character so much as his aptness for her. And then it is revealed how Francoise figures twice in the life of Maud. I won't anticipate the revelation, but be sure and watch for it. Suffice it to say that there are two reasons that Francoise is far from Maud's favorite person! The film ends, as French films often do, with the ironic affirmation of bourgeois values.

For today's DVD hound this movie will play slowly or not at all. The use of dialogue as something over and above the plot and action of the film will seem demanding and perhaps old fashioned. The deliberately drawn out scenes at church may cause you to yawn. But I recommend you stay with it. The movie has a quality that lingers long after the action is gone. The underlying philosophy about the nature of human love and how it conflicts or is compatible with reason and/or religion really does reflect to some extent the quotation above from Pascal, whose spirit is akin, although he denies it, to that of Jean-Louis, the careful protagonist of this very interesting film.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


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