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The Mother and the Whore (1973)
"La maman et la putain" (original title)

 |  Drama, Romance  |  17 May 1973 (France)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 3,165 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 34 critic

In Paris, the pedantic Alexandre lives with his mate Marie in her apartment, an open relationship. Alexandre, who is idle and chauvinist, spends his days reading, drinking and shagging ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bernadette Lafont ...
...
Françoise Lebrun ...
Isabelle Weingarten ...
Gilberte
Jacques Renard ...
Alexandre's Friend
Jean-Noël Picq ...
Offenbach's Fan
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Storyline

In Paris, the pedantic Alexandre lives with his mate Marie in her apartment, an open relationship. Alexandre, who is idle and chauvinist, spends his days reading, drinking and shagging women. After flirting with his former affair, Gilberte, who tells him that she will marry soon her boyfriend, Alexandre meets the Laenne Hospital nurse Veronika Osterwald and they schedule a date. Alexandre learns that Veronika is a promiscuous woman that loves to shag and introduces her to Marie. They have a threesome and Alexandre has a crush on Veronika. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

17 May 1973 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Mother and the Whore  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean Eustache wrote the role of Alexandre specifically for Jean-Pierre Leaud. See more »

Goofs

While reading the book of Gestapo at his friend's home, Alexandre is holding a cigarette in his right hand in the close-up. In the next shot he is only holding the book. See more »

Quotes

Veronika: Why shouldn't women be able to say they want to fuck?
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Connections

References Spirits of the Dead (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Les Amants de Paris
Written by Eddy Marnay and Léo Ferré
Performed by Édith Piaf
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User Reviews

 
Typology of Emptiness
24 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Unfortunately, Jean Eustache (1938-1981) belongs like so many once leading French film makers nowadays to the great unknown ones whose movies are hard to find and are not released on international DVDs. Since we have a good old-fashioned video-store in Tucson, I had the chance to watch this 3 1/2-hour marathon masterwork that is not boring for ten seconds.

Since we speak here about one of the most discussed (and most controversially discussed) movies of all times, let me tell you my impression that the endless dialogs, originally typical for the early "Nouvelle Vague" of a Jacques Rivette or Alain Resnais appear almost ridiculous in this movie. The dialogs are basically monologues, mainly the longest ones spoken by Jean-Pierre Léaud. The most characteristic feature is that the intersections of the speeches of two people is almost zero. Léaud, or his character, Alexandre, pleases to tell more about himself than about the topics he is seemingly to speak. Therefore, one can hardly speak about communication in this movie. It is well possible that the director had a gargantuan satire in mind against the idle running of the once so hotly discussed political and sociological ideas, but the type of man Alexandre exists to all times, we find him already in Petron's "Satiricon", which work has actually great resemblance with "The Mother and the Whore".

Alexandre does not only nothing, but he has developed an own kind of metaphysics about the absence of acting, at least acting in the sense of responsibility toward the society whose part he is. He mocks at the people who run to work at 7 c'clock in the morning, when he is just busy having his last drink before he goes to bed in the apartment of one of his girlfriends from whose money he lives. He is unable to speak one sentence without quoting one of the leading thinkers between Nietzsche and Bernanos. Especially Sartre who is shown quickly in the French intellectual café "Aux Deux Magots", where Alexandre, too, is sitting all day, must serve as excuse for the life-style of Alexandre and his colleagues, because they suffer existential crisis from bourgeois nausea. However, the intellectual speeches of Alexandre seem to be rather pseudo-intellectual, and the sentences and quips he cites seem to come rather from a dictionary of quotations than from his actual reading of the respective books.

It is true: This movie demands an extremely broad European knowledge, especially the connoisseurship of French existentialist philosophy and there consequences to the 68 student revolution movement, but if you have this knowledge, than you will enjoy 215 minutes of your life by staring amazed into the TV and crying out with laughing like you have probably not done it since a long time.


11 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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