My night at Maud's

My night at Maud's

DVD - 2006 | French
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A pious Catholic engineer in his early thirties, lives by a strict moral code in order to rationalize his world, drowning himself in mathematics and the philosophy of Pascal. After spotting the delicate, blonde Françoise at Mass, he vows to make her his wife, although when he unwittingly spends the night at the apartment of the bold, brunette divorcée Maud, his rigid ethical standards are challenged.
Publisher: [United States] : Criterion Collection, [2006]
ISBN: 9781559409896
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (111 min.) : sound, color and black and white ; 4 3/4 in.


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Apr 27, 2016

I have rarely quoted a reviewer in my comments but this from an article following Rohmer's death in January 2010 put a whole new perspective on his films. I had been trying to sort out Pascal and Marx and Catholicism and the priggish men and sensual women and all the while I was going at it from the wrong angle according to this article.

Gilbert Adair in The Guardian: "When I once interviewed him for Sight and Sound magazine, he ­remarked, as though it went without saying, that all his films were comedies, whatever the apparent subject – just as life itself, he argued, was a comedy disguised as a tragedy.

"his ­characters are among the most ­foolish and ineffectual milquetoasts ever to have graced a cinema screen; 90% of their celebrated talk is ­unadulterated ­twaddle. This is ­absolutely not a flaw: it is, rather, a ­species of trompe l'oeil (or trompe l'oreille). Rohmer jangles the small change of wit with such unfailing ­mastery that, just as his characters are persuaded they are making clever ­remarks, so most of the audience are persuaded they are hearing them. It helps, too, that he had an ­extraordinary gift for pastiching the rhetorical tropes of classical French comedy, with a ­particular affection for the "nothing but . . . " formula to which many 18th-century aphorists were ­addicted: "Women are nothing but . . . ", for ­example, or "Sexual ­attraction is ­nothing but . . . ". It scarcely matters what specific tailpiece Rohmer added – the audience are already ­nodding in worldly ­acquiescence."

this perspective was not reflected in any of the other reviews of Rohmer that I read, but it defines my incredulity that this was all so serious.

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