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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.

Director:

Éric Rohmer

Writer:

Éric Rohmer
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean-Louis Trintignant ... Jean-Louis
Françoise Fabian ... Maud
Marie-Christine Barrault ... Françoise
Antoine Vitez ... Vidal
Léonide Kogan ... Concert Violinist
Guy Léger Guy Léger ... Priest (as Guy Leger)
Anne Dubot Anne Dubot ... Blonde Friend
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Storyline

Thirty-four year old engineer Jean-Louis has just started a new job in Clermont. He leads a relatively solitary life not knowing anyone in town besides his work colleagues, he who has made a conscious decision that they should not become his de facto friends just because they work together. His choice not to socialize in town is due also in part to his situation and needing to make the long daily commute to/from Ceyrat where he currently lives. He has had his fair share of women over the course of his adult life, he now choosing to adhere more closely to his Catholic beliefs in approaching romantic and sexual relationships with women solely in the goal of love and marriage. Although not knowing her or having talked to her, he believes the pretty blonde he sees at church at Sunday morning services is the woman destined to be his wife. Within this situation of his new life, he has lately been reading the writings of Blaise Pascal, the mixture of mathematics and Catholicism in particular... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

22 March 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

My Night at Maud's See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #345. 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

Maud: I always sleep naked; nightclothes get so twisted around.
See more »

Connections

Follows The Bakery Girl of Monceau (1963) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Unique style and rhythm
28 October 2002 | by howard.schumannSee 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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