Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Original title: Ma Nuit Chez Maud
France, 1969. FFD, Les Films de la Pleiade, Les Films des deux Mondes, Les Films du Carrosse, Les Films du Losange, Les Productions de la Gueville, Renn Productions, Simar Films, Societe Francaise de Production, Two World Entertainment. Screenplay by Eric Rohmer. Cinematography by Nestor Almendros. Produced by Pierre Cottrell, Barbet Schroeder. Production Design by Nicole Rachline. Film Editing by Cecile Decugis. Academy Awards 1969. Cannes Film Festival 1969.
Possibly Eric Rohmer’s finest work, this gorgeous, quiet drama centres around the intellectual and romantic conundrums of Jean-Louis Trintignant as a devout Catholic recently returned to Clermont, France from living abroad. One night while on his way to dining alone, he runs into an old friend and joins him on an evening at the symphony and then, afterwards, at the apartment of a female friend. They discuss politics and philosophy all night until Trintignant decides to sleep over and risk all manner of physical complications with the gorgeous woman. The next day he runs into the beautiful, mysterious blonde (Marie-Christine Barrault) that he has been admiring from afar and has the opportunity to get to know her as well. Photographed in a misty black-and-white that makes the whole film seem like it has been etched in charcoal, the film features the hallmarks of Rohmer’s best work, the effortlessly charming sexuality and natural spontaneity of character interactions. The performances are all superb, particularly Françoise Fabian as the mysterious and bewitching Maud.