Item Information
Country France
Director Jean Eustache
Estimated Shipping 1 - 3 Days
Item Description
The Mother and the Whore (1973) DVD
La maman et la
putain
(original title)
Director: Jean Eustache
One of the most important French films of the
1970s, Jean Eustache's marathon drama focuses on three
twentysomething Parisians in a bizarre love triangle: Alexandre
(Jean-Pierre Léaud) is a seemingly unemployed narcissist
involved with both a live-in girlfriend (Bernadette Lafont) and a
Polish nurse (Françoise Lebrun) whom he picked up at a
café and with whom he begins a desultory affair. Clocking in
at over 3 1/2 hours, the movie focuses less on plot than on the
confused and ambivalent interrelations of these three lost souls.
As such, it becomes a searing document of the aftermath of Paris's
social and sexual revolutions of the Sixties, particularly the
uprisings of May 1968. These characters know that they are supposed
to be free and liberated, but they don't quite know how to go about
it, or how to make it work in practice, and their efforts don't
seem to make them any happier. In the guise of a plotless style
seemingly borrowed from
cinéma vérité documentaries, Eustache
unfolds a critique of both the illusory liberations of his social
moment and the dead-end heritage of his cinematic moment. By
casting Jean-Pierre Léaud, an icon of the French New Wave
who first made his name as the star of François Truffaut's
pioneering
The 400 Blows (1959), Eustache sets out to rewrite the
conventions of a French New Wave that had changed from a
revolutionary film movement into a formulaic mainstream style.
Despite its deceptively rambling manner, the film effortlessly
intertwines its characters' psychological dilemmas with a portrait
of its cultural moment with a revision of a wide swath of film
history from Truffaut's
Jules and Jim to Jean Renoir's
Rules of the Game to Ernst Lubitsch's
Design for Living. This experimental classic is not for
all viewers, but it's an unforgettable, and historically
indispensable, experience for those who can stick with it.
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