Tuesday, 14 December 2010

My Night At Maud's [1969]

First Rohmer film, and one that I have been waiting to watch for years. Managed to catch it at the Manchester Cornerhouse's Sunday Matinee which is always worth keeping an eye on.

Jean Louis Trintignant is a wound up Catholic with something against Pascal, and he has to stay the night in Francois Fabian's bed - only he has promised to remain celibate until he marries the pretty blonde who he has been checking out at Sunday Mass.

Pretty weird set up, but an enjoyable film nonetheless. Unrepentantly intellectual, I'll admit most of the discussions on Pascal went over my head. However, after a bit of post film explantion from S I started to understand the plot's analogies with Pascal's wager: Trintignant saw that he had everything to gain and nothing to lose by devoting himself to marriage with the pretty blonde, but I'm not quite he was convinced of this, especially considering the brief coda to the film when his memories and regrets seemed to wash over him like the nearby tide.

A beautifully photographed film (courtesy of Nestor Almendros, who also shot Days of Heaven - one of my personal favourites), every frame seemed to evoke repression (cold landscapes, icy streets) or clarity (simple interiors, the warmth of the church) - a reflection of Trintignant's emotions? Trintignant again displays his mastery of repressed urges: not as creepy as The Conformist or Three Colours: Red, but a calm, gentle and assured performance.

Heavy on the dialogue as it is, one never feels short changed by the film - this isn't a staged script, but a demonstration of how discussion and spoken thought can be cinematic when done properly.

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