Ma nuit chez maud (My Night at Maud’s)

ma-nuit-chez-med

My night at maud’s is a 1969 French film directed by Eric Rohmer. It is the third film in his series of six moral tales. In this film, an introverted Catholic enginner (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is introduced by his Marxist friend Vidal (Antoine Vitez) to Maud (Francoise Fabian), a charming middle-aged woman and ends up staying the night in her apartment. They spend the evening talking about philosophy and religion, particularly about their different views on Pascal and his wager.  Pascal offered a pragmatic reason for believing in god : even under the assumption that god’s existence is unlikely, the benefits of believing are so vast as to make betting on theism rational. If god does exist, then our lives gain meaning and our reward is eternal. The three main characters are an interesting study in contrast. Vidal sees the wager as a logical tool for explaining everything, from religion to politics. For Jean-Louis, Pascal is too strict, a man who has sacrificed sensual pleasure.
Maud believes in the supremacy of love. 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 loved. The girl that Jean-Louis is currently chasing is 22 year old Francoise ((Maire-Christine Barrault) a blonde,catholic girl that he has seen at church. They too fence with words as they try to mislead and reveal at the same time, and the audience is intrigued. Jean-louis is conflicted between his Catholic principles and his love of sensual pleasure.  He lives in a world centered on himself, involving in much philosophizing about choice but never choosing. Once Vidal leaves, Jean-Louis stays the night. Maud effortlessly engages Jean-Louis in a game of intellectual chess, provoking him with his own illusions about love. On the surface, the film appears very simple but underneath there is much complexity. Rohmer’s approach has often been called literary. He combines his intellectual interests with an intense examination of everyday life.

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