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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

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. 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: Don't you want to kiss me? What's wrong?
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Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Unique style and rhythm
28 October 2002 | by See all my reviews

My Night at Maud's is the third in the Six Moral tales series. In this film, an introverted Catholic engineer (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is introduced by his Marxist friend Vidal (Antoine Vitez) to Maud (Francoise Fabian), a charming and worldly divorcee and ends up staying the night in her apartment. Jean-Louis, Vidal, and Maud spend the evening talking about philosophy and religion, particularly about their differing views on Pascal and his wager. The wager goes something like this: Given overwhelming odds against the existence of God (for example, 100 to 1), we must bet on that one chance. For if God does not exist, and we lose the bet, then our loss is inconsequential. But if God does exist, then our lives gain meaning and our reward is eternal.

After Vidal leaves, Maud tells Jean-Louis about her marriage, her ex-husband's Catholic mistress, and the tragic end to her affair with the only man she truly loved. When he is persuaded to avoid a snowstorm and stay overnight, Jean-Louis has to overcome Maud's advances and his own temptations to remain faithful to his ideal mate, a blond, Catholic girl (Marie-Christine Barrault) he recently met at church.

This was the first film I'd seen by Eric Rohmer and it was a puzzle to penetrate the uniqueness of his style and rhythm. Rohmer presents his characters in very natural, almost mundane situations, and heightens the realism by using only natural sounds of the environment. On the surface, the film appears very simple but underneath there is much complexity. Jean-Louis is conflicted between his Catholic principles and his love of sensual pleasure. He lives in a world centered almost entirely on himself, engaging in much philosophizing about choice but never choosing. He operates out of how he "should" or "should not" act rather than out of his experience of what works. When life does not fit his pictures, he deceives himself with endless rationalizations. Through his experience with Maud, however, he is shaken out of need for complete self-control and discovers the epiphany of grace.

Rohmer has a light touch and employs intelligent and witty dialogue to bring his characters to life. In the process, he creates an impersonal elegance that is totally captivating. Rohmer doesn't set out to change our lives just to make us think, and in My Night at Maud's, he succeeds admirably.


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