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

 |  Drama, Romance  |  17 May 1973 (France)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.2/10 from 3,283 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 »



(scenario and dialogue)
0Check in
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A mysteriously linked pair of young women find their daily lives pre-empted by a strange boudoir melodrama that plays itself out in a hallucinatory parallel reality.

Director: Jacques Rivette
Stars: Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, Bulle Ogier
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.

Director: Chantal Akerman
Stars: Delphine Seyrig, Jan Decorte, Henri Storck
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.

Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The rigid principles of a devout Catholic man are challenged during a one-night stay with Maud, a divorced woman with an outsize personality.

Director: Eric Rohmer
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Françoise Fabian, Marie-Christine Barrault
Satantango (1994)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

In a small, dilapidated village in 1990s Hungary, life has come to a virtual stand-still. The Autumn rains have started. A few of the villagers expect to receive a large cash payment that ... See full summary »

Director: Béla Tarr
Stars: Mihály Vig, Putyi Horváth, László feLugossy
Sans Soleil (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

"He wrote me...." A woman narrates the thoughts of a world traveler, meditations on time and memory expressed in words and images from places as far-flung as Japan, Guinea-Bissau, Iceland, ... See full summary »

Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Florence Delay, Arielle Dombasle, Riyoko Ikeda
À nos amours (1983)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Suzanne is sixteen and is having sex with many boys, just for fun, but did not manage to really love one of them. Her family does not understand her. The father does not like her behaviour.... See full summary »

Director: Maurice Pialat
Stars: Sandrine Bonnaire, Maurice Pialat, Christophe Odent
Short | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The family of a Parisian shop-owner spends a day in the country. The daughter falls in love to a man at the inn, where they spend the day.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Sylvia Bataille, Jane Marken, Georges D'Arnoux
Touki bouki (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Mory, a cowherd, and Anta, a university student, try to make money in order to go to Paris and leave their boring past behind.

Director: Djibril Diop Mambéty
Stars: Magaye Niang, Mareme Niang, Aminata Fall
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A study of minor events in the adolescence of a boy growing up in small towns. Daniel lives with his grandmother and, after one year of high school, has to go to live with his mother in the... See full summary »

Director: Jean Eustache
Stars: Martin Loeb, Jacqueline Dufranne, Jacques Romain
Out 1 (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

"Out 1" is a very precise picture of post May '68 malaise - when Utopian dreams of a new society had crashed and burned, radical terrorism was starting to emerge in unlikely places and a ... See full summary »

Directors: Jacques Rivette, Suzanne Schiffman
Stars: Michèle Moretti, Hermine Karagheuz, Karen Puig
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Based from true story, primarily a conflict between two youth gangs, 14-year-old young boy's girlfriend conflict with the head of the gang for unclear reason, until finally there was a painfully incident.

Director: Edward Yang
Stars: Chen Chang, Lisa Yang, Kuo-Chu Chang


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


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


Drama | Romance


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 May 1973 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Mother and the Whore  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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


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 »


Veronika: I'm often in love. I get involved with people quickly, and forget quickly. People don't matter.
See more »


Referenced in Les passagers (1999) See more »


Un souvenir
Written by Oreste Rossi and Fernand Capitani
Performed by Damia
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

one of the greatest films ever made
20 September 2003 | by (Wellington, New Zealand) – See all my reviews

It is not an easy film to watch - it is over three and a half hours long and it is composed entirely of conversations. Yet it is so incredibly compelling and ruthlessly observational of the human character, that it is, in my humble opinion, one of the very greatest films of all time.

The film is depressing, cynical and cruel. (If you want something uplifting, see Jacques Rivette's fantastic Céline and Julie Go Boating, which was made around the same time). It shows the idealism of the late 1960s to be nothing different from the society that it was trying to change.

It involves a supposedly liberated ménage-à-trois between Alexandre (played by Jean-Pierre Leaud), Marie (Bernadette Lafont) and Veronika (Francoise Lebrun). Yet Alexandre is shown to be as chauvinistic and jealous as any other man. The women are exposed as being willingly subservient and defining their femininity through the male gaze.

The film is an extremely icy end to the highly revolutionary French New Wave. This movement was one of the most significant movements in film history and had a profound effect on cinema as we know it. Jean-Pierre Leaud was one of the key actors of the New Wave, having starred (among other films) in the influential Les Quatres Cent Coups (1959) by Francois Truffaut as a rebellious teenager. Director Jean Eustache is not as well known as other directors from the New Wave, but he should be.

There is no improvisation (unlike in John Cassavetes's similar films made in the US) and the dialogue comes from real-life conversations. The film is resonant with Eustache's personal experiences. For example, Francoise Lebrun was a former lover of Eustache. Eustache himself committed suicide in 1981 and the real-life person that the character Marie was based on, did too. The anger and bitterness all culminate in a harrowing monologue by Veronika delivered directly to the audience, breaking down the coldly objective nature of the rest of the film. This mesmerising, personal, and honest filmic statement remains one of the most revealing films of human nature around.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD plans? flaw4019
DVD release in America - any news? corwin215
It's such a shame... corwin215
The Cafe? jean_pierre_doinel
Script for end monologue neosigma13
Discuss The Mother and the Whore (1973) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: