The Mother And The Whore (1973)

JEAN EUSTACHE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

Original title:  La Maman Et La Putain

France, 1973.  , , , ,  .  Screenplay by Jean Eustache.  Cinematography by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , Jean Eustache.  

Four hours of three people having a conversation may not sound like a scintillating experience, but this classic is one hell of a surprise. At the centre of it is the adorably rakish , caught between his bossy, caring girlfriend and a sexually adventurous nurse whom he picks up at a cafe. Their various encounters, intimate or social, make up the lengthy plotting of this gorgeously grainy black and white film that out-Vagued all the Nouvelle Vague before it with great daring and panache. Unlike Godard’s political posturing, however, the lengthy monologues are never empty theorizing but characters tapping deeply into their emotional concerns. It’s impossible to imagine but it’s probably among the least pretentious films ever made. The performances are all superb, and while the running time is no cinch, it definitely doesn’t feel as long as it is.

Cannes Film Festival Award:  Grand Jury Prize

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