My Night at Maud's  

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My Night at Maud's is a 1969 film by Éric Rohmer. The original French title is Ma nuit chez Maud. It is the third movie in the series of the Six Moral Tales. Clermont-Ferrand in the winter, the philosophic conversations between a Catholic and a Marxist and Maud, a freethinker...

Over the Christmas break in a French city, the film shows chance meetings and conversations between four single people, each knowing one of the other three. One man and one woman are Catholics, while the other man and woman are atheists. The discussions and actions of the four continually refer to the thoughts of Blaise Pascal on mathematics, on ethics and on human existence. They also talk about a topic the bachelor Pascal did not cover – love between men and women.


Jean-Louis, a solitary and serious engineer, has taken a job in Clermont-Ferrand where he knows nobody. Attending a Catholic church, he sees a young blonde woman and without knowing anything about her is convinced that she will become his wife. In the cafe he encounters Vidal, an old Marxist friend now a university lecturer, who invites him to a concert that evening. Jean-Louis is at first reluctant but eventually agrees to go. After the concert they dine in a restaurant. Vidal has plans to visit a friend the following evening and invites Jean-Louis to accompany him. However, Jean-Louis plans to attend mass. They agree to attend mass together, as Vidal's friend will not be available until after midnight.

They arrive at the flat of Maud, a paediatrician who is recently divorced. The three talk and drink, until Maud suggests that falling snow has made the drive to Jean-Louis' mountain village unsafe and he should stay. Vidal, who had hoped to stay, leaves. Maud and Jean-Louis discuss religion and their love life. She makes herself comfortable in the double bed in the living room and reveals she divorced her husband because he had an affair with a Catholic woman, all the while she herself had a lover who died in a car crash one year ago. When it is time to sleep she declares the bed she is in is the only bed. She gets naked and suggests that Jean-Louis join her under the covers. He eventually does, keeping his clothes on. In the morning he resists her advances to make love. Initially hurt, Maud gets over the rejection and invites him to join her later for a walk in the snow with friends.

Just before meeting Maud's friends, he sees the blonde girl from the church and, much encouraged in his dealings with women by his night with Maud, boldly introduces himself. Her name is Françoise and she agrees to see him in the church. On the walk with Maud he is much more forward with her, to the point where she has to restrain him. After the walk Jean-Louis tries his luck at the place where he met Françoise and she turns out to be there, about to return home. He offers to give her a ride home and learns that she is a biology postgraduate. He goes back with her to her student house and after a tea he can spend the night in a separate room. In the morning, before they go to church, she refuses to kiss him. After the church service she admits that the cloud between them is because she has been having an affair with a married man.

Five years on, now married and on a beach with their child, the two meet Maud. She says she has remarried, but it is not a success. Afterwards, Jean-Louis confesses to Françoise that he came from Maud's bed on the morning he first met her but gives no specifics about what really happened. Then he realizes that his wife's lover was Maud's husband. As they are now both happy together, they decide not to bring up the subject again. Instead, they go for a swim with their child.


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